A former Kineton High headboy has joined a fascinating Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) expedition to discover why the numbers of Bewick swans are in such rapid decline.
Ben Cherry, 24, from Tysoe is part of the media and ground team for Flight of the Swans, which is already receiving international intention.
The ambitious operation is fronted by the Trust’s Sandra Dench, who is following one of nature’s great migrations to pinpoint the reasons behind the worrying statistics.
She will fly the same route as the swans with a paramotor – a powered paraglider – strapped to her back.
The 4,500 mile journey stretches across 11 countries, from their remote feeding grounds in Russia’a Arctic north back to the WWT’s Slimbridge Reserve in Gloucestershire
Ben – an environmental photojournalist and zoologist, who recently won the Royal Meteorological Society’s Weather Photographer of the Year title – said: “It’s a fascinating project.
“We’re seeking to engage and inspire as wide a public audience as possible to raise awareness.
“We’ll be connecting with people along the way as well as creating a documentary to highlight the threats posed to this international migration.”
Ben was one of 12 volunteers who took part in a rigorous selection weekend at BBC wildlife presenter Kate Humble’s Welsh farm. He has also met and photographed polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennnes, a patron of the project. Ben is hoping the work will act as a launch pad to a career in conservation communications.
> More information at www.flightoftheswans.org where you can also sign a petition demanding protection of these birds and their wetland habitats.