When Jeffrey Lendrum arrived at Heathrow Airport with £120,000 worth of rare birds’ eggs strapped to his chest he is likely to have had one thing on his mind – making as much money as possible from the trade in endangered species.
But his actions have inadvertently led to a significant increase in the number of exotic birds being nurtured in captivity at wildlife centres in this country.
And ironically that may eventually lead to their offspring being released back into the wild, thereby contributing to an increase in the numbers of their breed in their native environment.
It can now be revealed that the renowned International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP), in Gloucestershire, has successfully hatched the eggs seized by customs officials when Lendrum entered the country in June last year.
As a result it now has three rare Cape Vultures, which became an endangered species in 2015. There is thought to currently be only one other British bird centre with this species, in Wales, making their presence at ICBP a particular boon for visitors.
“We have never had Cape Vultures at the centre so this is another species we are able to learn about and study,” said Holly Cale, curator at the ICBP. “It’s something that is likely to attract a lot of interest once visitors get to know about them.”