The Curlew Task Force has published its recommendations aimed at promoting key policies and action for the conservation of one of Ireland’s most threatened bird species.
The group was established to address the significant decline in the native breeding population of the bird - 96% loss since the late 1980s.
Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, said:
“Clearly, the decline in curlew numbers is a significant conservation concern and we are determined to work together across Government to halt and reverse this decline.”
This Curlew Task Force involved over 20 different organisations and the report is a timely reminder of the necessary next steps in conserving the Curlew.”
She acknowledged that some of the recommendations of the Curlew Task Force are well-advanced, while others will require further discussion and consideration across Government.
Vital heritage conservation
The Task Force identifies that the Curlew Conservation Programme – established in 2017 and managed by the Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) – focuses on conservation action and engagement with stakeholders and should “continue to be supported, and as soon as practicable, upscaled and expanded”.
Independent chair of the Taskforce, Alan Lauder said: “In drawing the work of the Task Force to a close, I offer my sincere personal thanks to all who were involved, for your endurance, effort and engagement throughout.”
“I hope all our efforts will go a long way to assist in the recovery of Curlew as a breeding bird in Ireland”.
He also urged all to "take the opportunity to maintain the momentum and to build on the conservation work for Curlew as it offers an opportunity for vital heritage conservation, in the broadest sense”.
A co-ordinated approach
Dr Barry O’Donoghue of the NPWS - who leads the Conservation Programme said: “The conservation of the Curlew will require a co-ordinated approach by a wide range of stakeholders but based on this years’ breeding productivity we can see that the Curlew Conservation Programme has had a positive effect.”
“The Curlew action teams have worked incredibly hard over the past three years and many land-owners, in particular, farmers, have had a huge role to play in the success of the programme to date.”
“Success for the Curlew may well need to be measured over a longer period of time, but for now, we are seeing some positive signs in the Curlew Conservation Programme areas”.
The NPWS is calling on the public to help the Conservation Programme in its efforts.
Dr. O’Donoghue added: “While at present we have Curlew visiting our shores to spend the autumn and winter with us, the National Parks & Wildlife Service is asking for the public to let them know about any Curlew sightings they may have had over the summer months, especially in May, June and July.”
“Knowing where Curlew breed allows the NPWS to work with landowners to help Curlew rear their young and it is hoped that more pairs can be found in 2020.”
[Picture via Colum Clarke. Cover John Carey]