A grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to aid the recovery of an iconic bird – the curlew. This award is announced on ‘World Curlew Day’ 21st April 2018.
Curlew Country is starting a new phase of its groundbreaking curlew recovery work this month as the breeding season for curlew starts. Following the award of £65,000, the Shropshire and Welsh Marches-based project will be working with farming partners and the wider local community to monitor and protect curlew nests and raise curlew chicks to reverse alarming declines.
The new intiatives trialled in the pilot project, which was carried out with National Lottery funding as part of the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme, will form a major part of the project. This includes nest protection and head starting – incubating eggs and rearing chicks. The farmers steering group will take initial steps towards a plan for all wildlife within the Curlew Country focus area landscape and a small business intiative to potentially help replace lost income for farmers who support curlew. The project also aims to help a number of the others asking for advice to set up similar curlew recovery work. Farmers and volunteers will be trained in curlew recovery work and there will be fresh opportunities for community involvement with the project.
Project hosts, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust – a research-based charity – has supported the project and recently offered to undertake an essential role to enable curlew recovery work to continue.
The iconic curlew is disappearing quickly from our landscape. In England, about 50% of curlews have been lost in just 25 years and the rate of decline is accelerating. Curlew Country aims to recover the most significant local population of about 40 breeding pairs of curlew. This population is understood to be one of only a handful of populations of this size outside moorland and upland areas of the UK.
“We are extremely excited to receive this funding,” said project manager Amanda Perkins.
“This is a legacy project for a Landscape Partnership Scheme, which, being Heritage Lottery-funded, has kick-started this essential curlew recovery work. Through its generosity, the Heritage Lottery Fund is helping to support a long-term need to revive the fortunes of Britain’s largest and much-adored wader.”
“We are also grateful to partners GWCT who have extended their advisory support by acting as hosts as well as Natural England for match funding it and giving up office space.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands said: “We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, this project can now get off the ground to help secure the future of one of the UK’s rarest bird populations. We have some wonderful native wildlife in West Midlands and this project will give people exciting opportunities to get involved in learning about and protecting the precious biodiversity on their doorstep.”
Notes to editors
Curlew Country is Shropshire and Welsh Marches-based project taking action to save the local curlew population; leading the way in UK curlew recovery outside of moorland and upland reserve areas.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.