Kerry breeding ground to become an action station

In Kerry, the Stacks mountains are known to be an important breeding area for the curlew

MUCH of the focus of a major campaign to safeguard the endangered curlew will centre on Kerry which is a vert established breeding ground for the threatened large wader bird.

There are growing concerns about the breed’s survival and, it is estimated, there are now only about 150 pairs remaining, compared to well over 5,000 over 20 years ago with fears that the species could die out completely.

In Kerry the Stacks mountains are known to be an important breeding area for the curlew as well as locations in Mayo and Roscommon, Donegal, Laois and Leitrim and all these locations will

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has just advertised for 30 field officer contractors to work on a curlew conservation programme with extra government funds ring-fenced for the project.

The Minister of State with responsibility for the NPWS, Malcolm Noonan, inspecting renovations at Derrycunnihy Church during a recent visit to Killarney National Park.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

An immediate start is required as the period from mid-January to March is crucial in advance of the breeding season the new recruits will need to lay the foundations for the year ahead with local landowners and communities.

The minister with responsibility for the NPWS, Malcolm Noonan, remarked: “The situation for curlew is one of the most difficult and pressing conservation concerns of our time,”.

He said he was heartened to see early signs that the vital collaboration between the action teams, local farmers and communities is already benefiting its conservation.

“This will allow us to strengthen that collaboration and work together to protect this iconic and much-loved bird,’ Minister of State Noonan stated.

Last year, 42 breeding pairs were confirmed, of which at least 26 reached hatching stage with a minimum of 57 chicks hatched. At least 14 pairs produced fledglings, putting the breeding success rate at a minimum of 33 per cent.

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