In the twentieth century, more than a hundred bird species disappeared. The heaviest birdie in Europe – weighing up to 17 kilograms for males – the mighty bustard, famous for its impressive display of courtship, appears to have been destined to join mates behind the windows of natural history museums. Threatened with extinction due to hunting and intensive farming that destroyed their habitat, the number of species reached only about fifty specimens thirty years ago in Germany. Then scientists and conservationists embarked on an unprecedented rescue. In Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, they created designated protection zones by negotiating with farmers. The broods of the endangered wild bustard in particular are collected to allow eggs to hatch in the incubators, protected from predators. The young are carefully raised, and then released into the wild.
While the majestic birds have disappeared from their favorite regions in Eastern Europe and Asia, this documentary closely follows the heroes of the German experience, which arouse international interest and hope. About 350 great squid now live across the Rhine. But this success, the fruit of a titanic effort, remains fragile, as high-voltage lines and wind turbines pose a new threat to the Houbara. As this amazing “laboratory” of saturation shows, their future will depend on where humans are prepared to present to nature.
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