Significant grant awarded to save curlew from local extinction

There have been worrying declines in the breeding population throughout much of the UK

There have been worrying declines in the breeding population throughout much of the UK CREDIT: Snikom/ Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A £75,000 grant will be awarded to the Combating the Curlew Crisis Project, run by the Wildfowl & Wetland’s Trust, to conserve the breeding curlew populations

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) has agreed a £75,000 grant to help restore the breeding curlew population in Southern England.

The grant has been awarded to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s (WWT) Combating the Curlew Crisis Project, which forms part of the WWT’s overall Eurasian curlew recovery work. This project focuses on securing the breeding population in the Severn and Avon Vales. The aim is to see the curlew’s local breeding population increase to 50 pairs in five years’ time.

The money will cover funds for a project officer to provide engagement with local communities including farmers and land managers, and the monitoring of released birds.

The WHCT, set up by BASC in 1992, provides grants to help support and maintain Special Protections Areas and undertake research for the public benefit in the conservation of wildlife.

Paul Williamson, secretary of the WHCT, said: “The plight of the curlew in Southern England is well documented, without the necessary help they could easily become extinct. This project will not only counter the decline in the region, but the lessons learnt will help provide a model to protect the species nationally.

“Our support and belief in this project have led us to award the WWT with the one of the largest grants ever given by the Trust, and we are excited to see it progress.”

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Geoff Hilton, head of conservation evidence for WWT, said: “We welcome this grant, along with others, to ensure we can continue our vital work to protect curlews in the Severn and Avon Vales.

“Curlews should be considered the UK’s most urgent bird conservation priority. Britain holds a quarter of the world’s curlew breeding population, but the species currently faces regional extinction. This important project sets out to help counteract this threat. By working with local land managers to adapt habitat to help curlew thrive during the breeding season, the project also creates wildlife friendly wetland habitat for a range of species.”