Organisations from a wide variety of different sectors convened a new Wales Curlew action group called “Curlew Cymru” on 21 June 2018.
The meeting was hosted by Natural Resources Wales in Bangor and was chaired by Rachel Taylor of the British Trust for Ornithology. It is the result of a clear call for urgent action from the momentous meeting for Curlew conservation which was held in Builth Wells on 24 January 2018, where over 120 landowners and managers discussed the plight of the Curlew, which is now considered to be the most pressing bird conservation issue in the UK and Ireland.
The group, whilst coming from a variety of perspectives – conservation, land management, and country sports – have come together with one objective to work together to prevent the extinction of this iconic bird in Wales.
Patrick Lindley, Senior Ornithologist, Natural Resources Wales said: “Curlews are one of the most pressing priorities for bird conservation in the UK, and it is vital that we work together to protect the remaining population. Without urgent help, the curlew will disappear from both the upland and lowlands of Wales. A co-ordinated programme of action is urgently required to help ensure we continue to hear and see this charismatic bird.”
“Curlew Cymru” has been very well supported by Mark Isherwood AM, Assembly Member for North Wales. Mark is a committed species champion for the Curlew and has already raised the plight of the Curlew several times in the Senedd chamber and with the Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn. The Minister remains committed to reversing the decline in biodiversity in Wales.
It is now thought that there are less than 400 breeding pairs of Curlew in Wales with an estimated extinction date of 2030. It is widely accepted that conservation action needs to be immediate, and the many organisations at the meeting in Bangor contributed through provision of evidence and expert opinion with a firm dedication to do their utmost to make a difference to breeding populations. Whilst this is a good position to start, the success of Curlew conservation action in Wales will depend on landowners, managers, politicians and the public where the next five years may prove to be a crucial time for breeding Curlew.
The next Curlew Cymru meeting will be held in November 2018 when detailed plans will be finalised and further information about mechanisms for supporting curlew conservation will be made available to all interested parties.