27/01/17

Minister Humphreys announces establishment of Curlew Taskforce

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced the establishment of a Taskforce to reverse the decline of the Curlew as a breeding species in Ireland.

While Ireland is home to thousands of Curlew each winter, particularly along our coasts where migrant birds come to escape colder weather in Scotland or Scandinavia, our national breeding population has declined to below 150 pairs – a decline of 97% since the 1980s.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:

“The decline of the Curlew is of serious concern. My Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have already worked closely together in prioritising Curlew locations for entry to GLAS and in developing a measure that works for both the farmers and the birds.

“By convening this Taskforce, I am bringing together the relevant experts and decision makers to undertake further positive actions for the Curlew. I am hopeful that by working together and in particular by supporting positive initiatives for the bird, we can save the Curlew.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Curlew is one of Ireland’s most distinctive birds, with long legs and a long, curved bill. It is renowned for its plaintive, bubbling call and can be found during the spring and summer in High Nature Value farmland areas and bogs.

The Curlew is a red listed species under the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland and is Ireland’s only species on the IUCN red list of endangered species.

The National Parks & Wildlife Service commissioned a national survey of breeding Curlew in 2015 and 2016, with input from NPWS staff, BirdWatch Ireland and the general public among others.

The survey shows how serious a situation our own native Irish Curlew are in, with just 122 breeding pairs recorded. This represents a 97% decrease since the 1980s. An estimated 78% range contraction has also occurred.

The results of that survey are very useful towards informing conservation effort; to act as a baseline, to identify requirements and to target positive action.

The locations of breeding Curlew territories have been shared by NPWS with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, along with advice in terms of the ecological requirements of Curlew. This is enabling targeted supports to farmers with Curlew in their locality, to manage habitats for Curlew.

Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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