Free as a bird! Kapotwe the Shoebill appears to smile as she is released into the wild after being rescued from poachers

  • Evil poachers steal chicks to sell on to zoos and private collectors
  • Giant birds stand up to 4ft tall and their beaks can be a risk to humans

by Kate Bevan

This is the heartwarming moment that Kapotwe, a young female shoebill, first spread her wings in Zambia’s Bangweulu wetlands after having been rescued as a chick from poachers.

The thieves steal the giant birds, which can stand up to 4ft tall, as chicks to sell to sell to the zoos and private collectors, who will pay up to $20,000 for a single bird.

Kapotwe was kept in a small grass hut in a fishing village, where she found and rescued by Zambia Wildlife Authority scouts before she could be sold on by the shady traders…

(read the whole story: Telegraph UK)

(photos: Morgan Trumble)

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