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Toyota and Wildlife Trust work together to bring back breeding ospreys

Tuesday 13th September 2011

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is working with Toyota on an ambitious project to encourage ospreys to breed in the Derbyshire Trent Valley.

Ospreys are migratory fish-eating birds that spend the winter in Africa and return to Britain to breed in the spring. They were persecuted to extinction during the 19th century in England and early 20th century in Scotland. Following their return to Scotland and reintroduction at Rutland Water in 1996, ospreys have gradually been re-establishing themselves in parts of Britain.

Volunteer teams from Toyota and the Trust have built artificial nest platforms on the company’s land at Burnaston and at two Derbyshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves – Willington Gravel Pits and Drakelow.

The Trust hopes that the platforms will attract some of the male birds from Rutland. Reserves Manager Richard Spowage explains: “The Rutland birds are doing so well that males are now flying large distances to find suitable breeding sites. Young ospreys prefer to take over an existing nest rather than build their own from scratch, so creating artificial nests will hopefully encourage birds to breed.”

Richard explains: “We are keen to erect as many nests as possible, to provide plenty of opportunities for ospreys. We have received great support from Toyota and also from a variety of local organisations including Derbyshire Ornithological Society.”

John Malpas, Environment Leader at Toyota explains: “Thirty of our employees visited Rutland Water to see first hand the osprey conservation work undertaken there and meet with experts who successfully re-introduced ospreys back into England. It was a great opportunity to view the ospreys on their nests and learn about their behaviour and habitat. After visiting Rutland the Toyota volunteers organised themselves into three teams to design, build and install the osprey nests at three locations.”

The production plant at Burnaston near Derby manufactures the Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive, the first full hybrid vehicle in Europe.

Jim Crosbie, Director of Production Operations at Toyota says: “Our vision is to produce an eco-car, from an eco-plant with eco-minded employees. This voluntary conservation work is an important part of our environmental activities and our vision to be in harmony with our natural surroundings.“

The Trust has also been working to develop the project further with neighbouring Wildlife Trusts as well as local site owners including Severn Trent Water and E-on.