Pilot Curlew Conservation Partnership
The Eurasian Curlew is protected under Irish and EU law. It is Ireland’s only Red Listed bird species on the IUCN list of threatened species. A national survey commissioned by NPWS in 2015 and 2016 found drastic declines of the national breeding population of Curlews. Whereas 5000 pairs are estimated to have bred in the late 1980s, there now remains no more than 150 pairs. This represents a 97% decline. Breeding productivity is so low that population viability analysis predicts that in the absence of any action, the Curlew will go extinct as a breeding species in Ireland within 5-10 years.
A Curlew Task Force has been established with all major stakeholders represented, with a view to progressing action for Curlew conservation.
One of the key constraints for breeding Curlew is the difficulties they are experiencing in hatching eggs and rearing young. Predation, especially by Fox, is believed to be a main cause of breeding failure. Another constraint is habitat quality. With the cooperation of landowners (via this scheme), the Curlew Conservation Project will find Curlew nests and target effective action by means of nest protection, predator control and small-scale habitat enhancement through capital works.
The scheme is carefully designed to avoid any potential of double-funding, for example by GLAS. The input of any farmers on this scheme is entirely separate and there are no “per hectare” payments or actions similar to those available under other agri-environmental schemes.
For full details of the scheme please click here to download: