The Curlew Task Force met on 08 March 2018, in the Irish Peatland Conservation Council's centre in Lullymore, Co. Kildare. Representatives from various organisations including farming, nest protection, eNGO, academic, Governmental and indeed individuals with long-standing experience of Curlew conservation attended.
Independent Chairman Alan Lauder chaired a positive and upbeat day. While Ireland's Curlew have experienced drastic declines, there is great energy and action underway to try and address the losses. Positive initiatives for breeding Curlew in 2018 were discussed, including those by the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht (National Parks & Wildlife Service), the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, BirdWatch Ireland, the IPCC, Bord na Móna and NARGC were discussed.
The Curlew Task Force, bringing together various stakeholders is a very useful forum for listening and learning and improving, as well as generating ideas. The Curlew Conservation Programme run by the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht is gearing up for its second breeding season. It is intended to have fieldworkers for the 2018 season in place across seven localities (Stack's Mountains, Co. Kerry; Lough Corrib, Co. Galway; Lough Ree; North Roscommon; North Leitrim; North Monaghan; Donegal), working closely with local communities and land owners in efforts to improve the chances of chicks fledging and habitat being maintained/improved.
The Curlew Task Force has six sub-groups dealing with the main issues for Curlew conservation in Ireland. Each sub-group has a convener, and brief verbal reports were given on 08 March by these conveners. The Task Force collectively discussed updates and progress on the recommendations of each sub-group and the next steps for each sub-group. Detailed discussion was had on the subject of building sub-group recommendations into policy as this is what will really matter. It is heartening to see that already a number of recommendations of the Curlew Task Force are being brought into action.
Other topics discussed on the day included plans for World Curlew Day 2018, an idea which started with the Curlew Task Force here in Ireland, and a consideration of Curlew conservation efforts elsewhere, especially in Britain.
Curlew Task Force timeline