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They are part of the White Stork Project, the first of 50 breeding pairs to be released by 2030. Their color can vary from slate gray to white, red or black and there are 19 types (stock image)

White storks are released into the wild in the hope that they will breed in Britain for the first time in more than 600 years

  • They were hunted to extinction and the last breeding was registered in 1416
  • Twenty-four were released on the Knepp & # 39; rewilding & # 39; project in West Sussex
  • These are the first of 50 breeding pairs to be released in Great Britain by 2030
  • The storks can live to be 30 years old, have a wingspan of 7 ft and fly at 16,000ft
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White storks have been released into the wild in the hope that they will breed in Britain for the first time in centuries.

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The birds were extinct in the Middle Ages, but now 24 young animals thrive after being released on August 12 at the Knepp "rewilding" project in West Sussex.

Eight have GPS tags and one has traveled to the Hayle Estuary in Cornwall, pictured.

They are part of the White Stork Project, the first of 50 breeding pairs to be released by 2030. Their color can vary from slate gray to white, red or black and there are 19 types (stock image)

They are part of the White Stork Project, the first of 50 breeding pairs to be released by 2030. Their color can vary from slate gray to white, red or black and there are 19 types (stock image)

The birds, part of the White Stork Project, are the first of 50 breeding pairs to be released by 2030.

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They can reach the age of 30 and have a wingspan of 7ft.

The 24 youngsters have brightly colored rings on their legs and people are encouraged to report sightings on the project website or on Twitter to help scientists understand their movements.

It is hoped that in the coming weeks some will migrate across the Sahara to West Africa, flying at an altitude of 16,000 feet.

Lucy Groves, from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust participating in the project, said, "We've had reports from East Sussex, Southampton, Dorset and Penzance, where the birds amazed holidaymakers during the August holiday."

Storks build huge nests in tall trees and towers, and were once in the UK, with the last nest nested in St. Giles' cathedral in Edinburgh in 1416.

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They were often the center of medieval banquets and can be found in folklore that newborn babies wear in a cloth under their beaks.

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