The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) has agreed a £75,000 grant to help restore the breeding curlew population in Southern England.

The grant has been awarded to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s (WWT) ‘Combating the Curlew Crisis Project’, which forms part of the WWT’s overall Eurasian curlew recovery work. This project focuses on securing the breeding population in the Severn and Avon Vales. The aim is to see the curlew’s local breeding population increase to 50 pairs in five years’ time.

The money will cover funds for a project officer to provide engagement with local communities including farmers and land managers, and the monitoring of released birds.  

The WHCT, set up by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) in 1992, provides grants to help support and maintain Special Protections Areas and undertake research for the public benefit in the conservation of wildlife.

Paul Williamson, secretary of the WHCT, said: “The plight of the curlew in Southern England is well documented, without the necessary help they could easily become extinct. This project will not only counter the decline in the region, but the lessons learnt will help provide a model to protect the species nationally.

“Our support and belief in this project has led us to award the WWT with the one of the largest grants ever given by the Trust, and we are excited to see it progress.”

Geoff Hilton, Head of Conservation Evidence for WWT, said: “We welcome this grant, along with others, to ensure we can continue our vital work to protect curlews in the Severn and Avon Vales. 

“Curlews should be considered the UK’s most urgent bird conservation priority. Britain holds a quarter of the world’s curlew breeding population, but the species currently faces regional extinction. This important project sets out to help counteract this threat. By working with local land managers to adapt habitat to help curlew thrive during the breeding season, the project also creates wildlife friendly wetland habitat for a range of species.”

ENDS…

Notes to Editors:

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) provides habitat conservation grant support to national and international projects. The WHCT was set up by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), to be shooting’s conservation charity. For more information on the WHCT please visit: http://www.wht.org.uk/

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Wetlands are essential for all life, including humankind and yet they are disappearing three times faster than forests. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a conservation charity working to save wetlands globally and in the UK for wildlife, people and our planet.  WWT runs ten reserves across the UK, managing 3000 hectares of the best wetland habitat in the UK, and providing inspirational experiences to encourage people to value wetlands and the amazing wildlife they support.  To find out more visit wwt.org.uk.