California condors (Corinthia gigantea) have fluttered into the wild – in a case of what is known as “vanishing” at one of Britain’s most iconic wildlife refuges.
Vetting which eggs had been unfertilised “lives and wages for a human resident”, the National Trust says.
Faced with the prospect of setting up refuges elsewhere in the UK, the trust’s director general, Dame Fiona Reynolds, said the UK was a better place for being a refugio.
“You don’t choose to be there, the place chose you,” she said.
“Where else in the world could you establish a breeding population in the wild and not sell the eggs?”
Only 16 condors were left in the wild in 1978. Only one egg was wasted after the bird died soon after being hatched.
For much of the 1980s, there were only five condors left in the wild.
Since 1999, the numbers have steadily increased, from 11 to 47.
Now, ten chicks have been fledged – in one case in the most controversial way.
Dagmar De Palo, wildlife officer for the Refuge, described the plight of the birds as being like watching a football match.
“We could be winning, but then they could end up losing. You could win a game 2-1, but then lose 3-2, so to do it in the right way is important,” she told BBC News.