In July 1990, 13 red kites had to be flown by British Airways jet from Spain before they could grace the skies of the Chilterns.

Thirty years on, nearly 2,000 breeding pairs of red kites display their distinctive forked tails as they soar over virtually every English county, in what has been hailed as one of the most successful reintroduction projects in the world.

As conservationists celebrated the anniversary of the once persecuted bird of prey’s revival, Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, the government’s conservation watchdog, said there was “pretty strong momentum” for other reintroductions…

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