A huge red kite sculpture has been unveiled outside Cardiff Castle as part of RSPB Cymru's campaign for a green and just future for Wales.

The sculpture is made entirely from eco-friendly resources and represents the revival of one of our most notable and loved birds in Wales.

The red kite is significant because although it was prominent in the UK for centuries, persecution led to a steep decline in numbers. However in Wales, over the past 30 years, there’s been a huge increase and RSPB Cymru sees this as a beacon of hope - inspiring its new campaign 'Revive our World'.

This is timely as in less than three weeks, voters in Wales will visit the polling stations and elect the next Welsh Government.

RSPB Cymru is calling for the next Welsh Government to implement a Green Recovery that will tackle the nature and climate emergency and deliver access to nature for everyone and improve public health and well-being.

Katie-jo Luxton, RSPB Cymru director, explained: “The success of the red kite in Wales is an example of what is possible with the right protection and support put in place.

“The collective effort between nature lovers, farmers, tourist businesses and the Gurkhas who protected their nests means we’re now at a point where there are now over 2,500 breeding pairs.”

“Later on this year, two global summits on biodiversity and climate change will take place and the upcoming elections in Wales gives each and every one of us the opportunity to shape the future of nature. What better way of showcasing the potential for nature revival than with a beautiful sculpture of the iconic red kite."

Artist Sarah Wardlaw is passionate about protecting wildlife
Artist Sarah Wardlaw is passionate about protecting wildlife

The sculpture next to Cardiff Castle was designed and built by north Wales artist Sarah Wardlaw and she was delighted to be commissioned for this project. She said: “The red kite is a phenomenal conservation success story in Wales, but a stark reminder of just how fragile life is and why we should cherish it.

“With this commission, I am using a combination of traditional blacksmithing and augmented reality (AR) to give the illusion of flight or existence of spirit. The principle of flight, navigation, and the magic of altitude is something to aspire to.

“As an artist, I believe we can collectively help prevent extinction and protect wildlife if we use our individual stories and give our imagination the freedom to unfold and be limitless. If species die, our dreams die with them.’’

Alongside the sculpture, RSPB Cymru is also working with the Welsh music prize winner The Gentle Good, also known as Gareth Bonello.

The Gentle Good is releasing a brand-new single titled Adfywio/Revival, which will be available for download from Friday, April 23. At the core of the song is a passion for conservation and protecting the environment.

Gareth explained: “Nature has been an essential part of my life ever since I was little. I started volunteering with the RSPB when I was 14 years old, then went on to study zoology at university. I briefly worked as a professional ornithologist and nature has always been an inspiration to me as a composer.

“We must find a way of being more environmentally friendly and the song emphasises that responsibility. I’m passionate about nature and conservation and was very comfortable writing Adfywio/Revival.”

The sculpture uses augmented reality (AR) to give the illusion of flight
The sculpture uses augmented reality (AR) to give the illusion of flight

The unveiling of the sculpture and the release of the single is poignant as RSPB Cymru hopes Welsh Government will take note and create a plan that will benefit people and the planet. This could involve green jobs, environmental protection, resilient and rich land seas, healthy citizens and strong leadership.

Naturist and TV presenter Iolo Williams was part of the team protecting red kites in mid-Wales during the 1980s and 90s. He added: “I remember spending a lot of weekends and holidays doing our best to protect the nests from poachers, but looking at how successful this beautiful bird has been since then, it was worth every second.

“The campaign to protect the red kite worked better than anyone of us could have hope for, but the time has come now to protect nature in general. We are in a crisis and if we don’t work together now, we are facing a very troubled world in the future.”

To find out more about RSPB Cymru’s Revive Our World campaign, visit the website.