Saturday 1st June, a selection of our YDMG Gamekeepers took members of the public on Curlew Safaris from Bolton Castle in the heart of Wensleydale.
From the castle they were driven up onto the managed moorland in small groups by an experienced gamekeeper who showed them the habitat where the Curlews and their
chicks favour and that’s it’s not only them thriving up there but a whole host of wildlife, including many other red listed, threatened birds.
On today’s Safaris the guests were treated to seeing lapwing, grouse, shorteared owl, little owl, sparrowhawk, ring ouzel, golden plover, wheatears, redshank, skylark, buzzard and redstart.
Over the last thirty years curlew numbers have fallen by an alarming 20 per cent across the European continent, and in their most western reaches in the Irish Republic there is nothing short of a disaster unfolding. In the 1980s there were around 5,000 pairs of nesting curlews, today there are fewer than 130, a staggering drop of 99 per cent. So alarming are the figures that curlews were made a species of highest conservation concern in the UK in December 2015, and put onto the red list of threatened species by the IUCN, the worldwide union of conservation bodies which monitors the status of animals and plants throughout the globe. They are now in the same category as jaguars, ‘near threatened,’ which means extinction is likely in the future.
Scientific research has shown that where moors are managed by gamekeepers, ground nesting birds such as curlew and lapwing are 3.5 times more likely to raise a chick to fledging. A survey of upland breeding birds in parts of England and Scotland has also found that the densities of golden plover, curlew, redshank and lapwing were up to five-fold greater on managed grouse moors, compared to moorland that was not keepered.
Radio 4 also came along today and spoke to us, this interview will be aired in July.
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