Monday 26 June 2017

The last cry of the curlew? State to splash €100,000 to save rare bird

The population of the curlew has declined by 97pc here since the 1980s
The population of the curlew has declined by 97pc here since the 1980s

Gordon Deegan

The State is set to spend €100,000 in the first phase of a last-ditch bid to save the iconic curlew bird from extinction here.

According to the Department of Arts and Heritage, the population of the protected bird has declined by 97pc here since the 1980s, from 5,000 breeding pairs to around 150 breeding pairs today.

The department said that it found "drastic declines" in the national breeding population of the curlew in a national survey last year and in 2015.

The curlew is the country's only red-listed bird species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of threatened species.

The curlew is one of the most iconic birds of the rural Irish landscape and its charismatic call, large greyish-brown body and long, down-curved bill make it an easily identifiable bird.

"Breeding productivity is so low that population viability analysis predicts in the absence of any action, the curlew will be extinct as a breeding species within five to 10 years," the department said.

The decline has been brought about as a result of habitat loss, changes in land use and a host of other factors.

As part of the battle to save the curlew from national extinction, the department is seeking to appoint an interested party to draw up a report on the best actions to secure its future.

It said that starting in April, the primary focus of the research shall be to investigate conservation action on the ground with a view to informing conservation action for the breeding curlew.

The focus for the research will be the Stack's Mountains in Co Kerry, Lough Corrib in Co Galway, Lough Ree in Co Roscommon, Monaghan and Leitrim.

Irish Independent

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