Brecon Beacons set to save the iconic curlew

Posted on 22 Nov 2021

Today (22 November) marks the launch of A Wales Action Plan for the Recovery of Curlew, the UK’s most pressing bird conservation priority.

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the most southernly point in the UK where this iconic species breeds and the area plays a vital part in the species’ recovery. Part of the National Park has been designated as an Important Curlew Area (ICA) and plans are being developed to protect this much-loved bird species.

The UK regularly hosts up to one quarter of the global curlew breeding population. The bird is famous for its hauntingly beautiful song and it’s long, curved beak which acts like a pair of tweezers or chopsticks to pincer prey in the mud.

The population in Wales has fallen by 81 per cent and continues to fall by over 6 per cent annually, with country-level extinction threatened by 2033.

Gylfynir Cymru, a strong partnership including government, conservation organisations and land managers has written the action plan, which is being launched today. The plan not only delivers on curlew recovery and 87 other associated species, but it also moves us towards the climate-resilient landscape management that provides for business, people and nature. The launch event has drawn support from across the political spectrum, including Julie James MS (Minister for Climate Change), Janet Finch-Saunders (Conservative Shadow Minister for Climate Change), Delyth Jewell (Plaid Cymru Shadow for Climate Change, Energy and Transport) and Mark Isherwood MS (Curlew Champion).

Nicky Davies, Ecologist for the Brecon Beacons National Park, said, ‘We are delighted to be host to an Important Curlew Area. In the coming months, we’ll be looking into ways of working collaboratively to safeguard this iconic species in the National Park. Its song, which was once heard all over Wales, makes so many of us stop in our tracks. Wales deserves to resound with this enchanting sound once more.’

The Brecon Beacons ICA is working alongside 11 other ICAs across Wales to help protect this treasured bird in its greatest hour of need.

This Wales Single Species Action Plan (SSAP) for curlew sets out a framework to conserve breeding curlew over a ten-year programme of action (2021 – 2031) and to stabilise the decline in breeding curlew with the aim to prevent predicted Welsh extinction by 2033.

ENDS

[i] Gylfinir Cymru are a partnership of: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, The British Trust for Ornithology, The Countryside Alliance, Curlew Country,  Denbighshire County Council, The Farmers’ Union of Wales, Natural Resources Wales, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, The National Farmers’ Union Wales, The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, The National Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Snowdonia National Park Authority, The Welsh Ornithological Society, Welsh Government