Wild white storks have hatched in the UK for what is thought to be the first time in 600 years, meaning there are hopes of reintroducing the species to the wild.
The White Stork project announced on Saturday that observers had witnessed parents removing eggshells and regurgitating food for babies.
Successful hatching like this, it is hoped, will be the first step towards establishing the species in the south of England again after a break of almost six centuries.
The last chick to hatch on British soil is believed to have been born on top of Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral in 1416.
Project Officer of the initiative, Lucy Groves, said: “After waiting 33 days for these eggs to hatch it was extremely exciting to see signs that the first egg had hatched on 6 May.
“The parents have been working hard and are doing a fantastic job, especially after a failed attempt last year. These are early days for the chicks, and we will be monitoring them closely, but we have great hopes for them.”
She continued: “This is just one step towards establishing this species in the south of England. It may be a small step, but it is an exciting one.
“This stunning species has really captured people’s imagination and it has been great following the sightings of birds from the project during the period of lockdown and hearing about the joy and hope they have brought to people.”
The project, a partnership between private landowners and conservation organisations such as Cotswold Wildlife Park and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, aims to restore the population of at least 50 breeding pairs across the south of England by 2030.
Police end search for Moors Murders victim Keith Bennett
Police have ended the search for Keith Bennett on Saddleworth Moor after finding no human remains.
Last week, an author claimed to have found evidence of the possible burial site for the twelve-year-old, who was kidnapped and murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) began searching the area on September 29th but said today there was ‘no evidence of the presence of human remains’.
Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes said: “The investigation into Keith’s disappearance and murder has remained open since 1964 and it will not be closed until we have found the answers his family have deserved for so many years.
“The excavation and examination at the site is complete and, to reiterate, we have found no evidence that this is the burial location of Keith Bennett.”
Andy Burnham says Avanti West Coast must improve or ‘contract should be terminated’
Avanti is running a heavily reduced timetable as a result of ‘unofficial strike action’
Andy Burnham has urged the Transport Secretary to make Avanti West Coast run more trains to Manchester or terminate the firm’s contract.
In a letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the mayor of Greater Manchester said he wants Avanti to run at least two services between Manchester and London per hour by the end of the month – or have their contract removed altogether.
The Department for Transport has today placed the train firm on a short-term contract to challenge it to deliver the urgent increase in services required.
Back in August, the train company announced it would be reducing its services between Manchester and the capital to just one per hour as a result of ‘unofficial strike action’ by ASLEF members.
And over the last three weeks, an average of 10% of Avanti West Coast services between Manchester and London were either cancelled or significantly late.
Over this same three-week time period, over a quarter of services (27%) have failed to arrive on time, according to Granada Reports.
Yet while Avanti has said it plans to return to an increased timetable by December 11th, Burnham said it should happen sooner, and is calling for two trains per hour by the end of October, and three trains by December.
In his letter, Burnham wrote: “Unless this happens and is clearly communicated, train travel between our most important economic regions will continue to be chaotic, forcing people into their cars or into abandoning plans to travel entirely.
“These dreadful conditions would be unacceptable at any time but are particularly so now given the wholesale collapse of the timetable, something no other train company is experiencing at anything like this scale.
“Passengers face other challenges too. Tickets are still only being released a few days in advance, making planning for individuals and businesses impossible.
“Without this commitment, I will be unable to support a new contract for Avanti.”
In response, a spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: “We are already delivering on our commitment to increase the number of services we are running between Manchester and London, with three or four trains an hour departing Manchester Piccadilly at the key times of the day.
“We remain focused on providing a reliable train service for our customers and restoring a full timetable of three trains an hour all day between London and Manchester, in December.
“Our revised timetable, with no reliance on overtime, is also proving more reliable – in the last week, we have run 300 trains between London and Manchester, with approximately one in thirty of them cancelled, mainly because of short-notice sickness.
“That compares with one out of thirteen trains cancelled back in mid-July.
“Nevertheless, we know that at the moment we’re not delivering the service our customers rightly expect and we apologise for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this is causing.
“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”
Tributes pour in for ‘gorgeous’ mum killed in Liverpool dog attack
Police say five American bulldogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’
Tributes have been pouring in for the ‘gorgeous’ mum who was mauled to death by five dogs in Liverpool.
Ann Dunn, sixty-five, died after being attacked by five American bulldogs in a property on St. Brigids Crescent, Vauxhall.
Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics on Monday October 3rd at around 4:25pm. However, Ann’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced as dead at the scene.
Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.
Officers also confirmed that a thirty-one-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.
Following the news of her death, people who knew Ann have paid their own tributes to the mum and grandmother on social media.
One person wrote on Facebook: “RIP gorgeous lady, still can’t believe it Ann. Had some good times with you I will never forget.”
She added: “I am all so heartbroken for you kids and family right now. Don’t want to even think how they feeling… So happy I got [sic] have old chat with you on Friday even though it was only for 10 minutes, keeping looking over your family.”
Another social media user added: “Heart breaking thinking of all the family, devastated for yous all. R.I.P lovely Ann.”
Liverpool John Moores University, where Ann worked as a cleaner, also paid tribute to their ‘hard-working and dedicated’ employee.
They said: “The university community is absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic loss and to lose Ann in this way is just heart-breaking. Ann was hard-working and dedicated and had so many friends across the organisation. It’s just awful and she will be terribly missed.
“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and loved-ones.”
Detective Inspector Katie Coote added: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.
“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”