The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) is giving 18,000 euros to a project to protect the habitat and breeding grounds of the common pochard in Lithuania.

Land use changes in Lithuania have threatened the lakes and wetland habitats favoured by breeding pairs of this migratory duck species and its numbers throughout Europe have declined.

The project is a continuation of ongoing work on the Nemunas River delta and will allow for the restoration and sustainable management of key breeding habitats and also the designation of important moulting sites in the Baltic region.

Dr Saulius Svazas, project co-ordinator, said: “This project supported by the WHCT is important for sustainable management of common pochard in Eastern Europe.

“It is necessary to designate the key moulting sites of common pochards in Eastern Europe as conditions in sites supporting large numbers of ducks can impact the overall population trends.”

Paul Williamson, secretary to the WHCT, said: “On behalf of the WHCT trustees I would like to thank Dr Svazas for his thorough and comprehensive application.

“Once again the WHCT is pleased to assist this vital conservation work on the Nemunas River Delta and wish the team every success as they strive to sustain the habitats of not only the common pochard but also the safeguarding of other wildfowl species.”

Over the last ten years, trustees of the WHCT have made grants totalling over £80,000 to international projects. These include habitat restoration projects on stopover sites for migratory wildfowl in Lithuania, Belarus and the Kaliningrad region of Russia. These projects have proved extremely successful as they have improved the habitat significantly.

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust welcomes both national and international grant applications and is keen to support projects which target the conservation of known breeding habitats of the UK’s migratory species.

Established in 1986 by members of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to date the WHCT has awarded grants totalling £181,775.

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