17 August 2018

Wildlife artist helps threatened bird

Curlew - Owen Williams (002)

RENOWNED wildlife artist Owen Williams has produced a stunning picture  in the latest innovate way to help save the UK’s declining curlew.

The curlew – a ground-nesting bird in danger of extinction – is portrayed excellently by Owen as its surrounded by a quartet of chicks.

Sales will support the vital Curlew Country recovery project which is taking drastic action to reverse the declines of the much-loved bird.

The project, part of the UK lowland recovery programme and hosted by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), works on the ground with farmers in the Shropshire Hills and Welsh Marches to protect and monitor curlew nests. Each print sold raises £15 for this important project.

“In common with others who have known the Welsh uplands all their life, the lack of curlew call in recent years has cast a subconscious melancholy over what should be the happy welcoming of spring with all its promise,” said Owen, who is chair of GWCT’s Ceredigion Committee.

“To know that Curlew Country is now working hard to reverse this sorry tale of decline is heartening and is why I was so happy to be able to help in a modest way by producing the artwork for this print.

“The continued success of this small, yet devoted, team urgently deserves your support, what better way to prove that the shooting community is dedicated to improving biodiversity in our countryside?”

The iconic curlew is disappearing quickly from our landscape, with just 300 breeding pairs left south of Birmingham and, if they continue at this rate of decline, scientists estimate they will be extinct in the next eight years.

But 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.

And its latest initiative is to use a conservation practice known as headstarting – in a bid to help them on a local level.

The decision to intervene was made after project workers spent two years using cameras and data loggers to monitor over 30 curlew nests, from which no chicks survived to hatch. Most were predated at egg stage by foxes, so the Curlew Country project took the much-needed step of applying for a licence to incubate 50 eggs and rear them by hand.

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Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line - at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Joel Holt
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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