Wild Animals: Great Bustards


I said: Don't wax sentimental over the elephants which trample down the crops of poor peasants or the tigers which eat them. "Tiger, tiger shining bright..." is nonsense. I guess the poet had never met one.  The tiger would have eaten him and his poem.  From England, George Sassoon comments: Quite right!  Near here, on Salisbury Plain, recently some great bustards were re-introduced from Russia at vast expense, a species of bird that went extinct on the Plain about 200 years ago.  A fox got in and bit their heads off, leaving the tasty carcasses.  Killing for the sheer pleasure of it.

RH: This is the first time in my long life that I have thought about great bas, I mean bustards. They are not an American bird, which is not as bad as unAmerican. They are large and handsome, somewhat like an ostrich, white but with a brown top and a black underbody. They are the heaviest of the flying birds. They  are native to southern Eurasia, Africa  and Europe.  Because they are hunted for food they are becoming extinct. Why were they reintroduced to Salisbury Plain? Part of the back to nature movement? As a tourist attraction? As for the fox, these hefty birds should have been able to biff it or just fly away.  I suppose the fox was foxy and sneaked up from behind. Any animal which would be so unethical cannot protest against the behavior of hounds.

I asked why were great bustards reintroduced to Salisbury Plain? Part of the back to nature movement? As a tourist attraction? As for the fox, these hefty birds should have been able to biff it or just fly away. From the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, George Sassoon answers:  I have no idea why they they were reintroduced - because they were here once and then driven to extinction, I suppose.  They are the national  bird of Wiltshire, our county, and were once served at feasts in Salisbury.The trouble is that they are hand-reared and too tame.  Attempts are being made to train them to drive off foxes and other predators. RH: Has any WAISer eaten great bustard? There might be a good market for their food, just as their is in the US for buffalo meat.

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: November 20, 2004