The Russian General, with its beautiful plumage of shiny medals and gold braid, is in danger of becoming extinct if ‘unrestrained’ culling of the species doesn’t stop soon, environmental scientists have warned.
The magnificent beasts, who are often significantly larger than the ordinary members of their herd they lead, have proven an enticing target for hunters after they attempted to migrate in large numbers across the plains of central Ukraine.
Russian Generals, like magpies, are well known for their love of shiny objects and will help themselves to piles of coins and other hard currency and will often steal milk-bottle tops which they turn into endless ranks of medals to adorn their pelt.
“The life cycle of the Russian general is a beautiful thing”, said Professor Simon Williams of the Kettering Institute of Military History.
“It’s usual habitat is a large villa in the South of France, where it builds a comfortable roost in a large yacht and surrounds itself with as large a harem as it can.
“So being forced out of its native environment into an unfamiliar, military one, where they have to do their actual jobs has led to them becoming disoriented and confused, making them easy prey for trophy hunters.”
Scientists warn that unless the migration is diverted to safer routes, like back to St Petersburg, Russian Generals may be extinct within the year, and recommend a captive programme is set up in the Hague to ensure they are not completely lost.