Shooting of endangered curlew banned to prevent extinction
A BAN on hunting curlews was imposed today to prevent their extinction.
A massive decline in curlew numbers – down by up to 95pc - was behind the Government ban.
Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan removed the bird from the open season for shooting wild game birds.
The curlew has traditionally had a one month hunting season during November.
But a ban has now been introduced as there has been a huge decline in the bird numbers.
A number of surveys and studies in the past year have estimated a dramatic reduction in the total number of breeding pairs of curlews in Ireland.
These estimates indicate a decrease ranging from 60pc to 96pc.
A study of 60 previously recorded breeding sites in Donegal and Mayo found just eight pairs, four in each county.
The curlew has been red-listed as a globally threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2007.
The European population is experiencing similar declines.
Mr Deenihan said :” This decision will be welcomed by conservationists and hunters.”
“ I am aware that some hunting bodies have already introduced voluntary hunting bans for the curlew and I commend them for this action.”