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Good news for the Curlew Connections Wales Project. Funding secured for three years.

Curlew Connections Project receives £1m in funding to help curlew in Wales.

Curlew Connections Wales is a partnership project involving The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, Curlew Country and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Cymru. Welsh Government’s Nature Networks Funding will drive forward curlew recovery in four ‘Important Curlew Areas’ in line with the Wales Action Plan for the Recovery of Curlew developed by Gylfinir Cymru (Curlew Wales).

Today Gylfinir Cymru is celebrating the news that their Curlew Connections Wales Project has received funding from Nature Networks Fund which is a Welsh Government grant programme delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, to take action to prevent the extinction of curlews across Wales.

This three-year project was drawn together by four of the key members of Gylfinir Cymru (Curlew Wales) which includes the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Cymru, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, Curlew Country and Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, working together from the hills of Denbighshire in the north of Wales, through mid-Wales and down to Bannau Brycheiniog in the south.

The Wales Action Plan for the Recovery of Curlew identifies what needs to be done to halt the decline of this beautiful and iconic species. This funding from Welsh Government will enable partners to work within three key areas of Wales in an effort to begin this proses. The partners will be working alongside farmers, land managers and local communities to raise awareness of the plight of curlew and start to put measures in place to address the causes of their decline, whilst working towards sustainability.

Curlews are a charismatic bird that breed on farmland and moorlands across Wales during the spring and early summer months. Their distinctive call, considered by many to be the herald of spring, is evocative of wilder landscapes and loved by many, but their numbers have been declining in Wales over the last 30 years from an estimated 5,700 pairs in 1993, to as few as 400 breeding pairs across the whole of Wales today. Very few eggs and chicks make it through to adulthood every year, meaning the birds are in long-term population decline and the curlew is now considered to be the bird of highest conservation concern in Wales.

Curlews need a range of habitats and favourable conditions on a landscape scale to breed successfully. Working in partnership with farmers and land managers we will support actions for curlew recovery whilst working toward sustainability.

If we adopt a business-as-usual approach where little/no conservation actions are taken, in Wales breeding curlew is predicted to be extinct within the next decade so this award offers us all hope that we can reverse this trajectory.

Nicola Davies, Ecologist at Bannau Brycheiniog National Park said, “We are delighted to be part of this Wales-wide partnership led project focussing on curlews. With so few remaining in the landscape, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are doing our utmost to reverse the decline (and ultimately extinction) of curlews. This funding for the Curlew Connections project will help us to celebrate the haunting and ethereal call of the curlew across the landscape once again here in the Bannau.”

Amanda Perkins, Curlew Country Lead commented “We are delighted that the Curlew Connections project is helping us to extend our pragmatic curlew recovery work across Montgomeryshire building links for a fragmented yet significant wider population. This herald of Spring and symbol of wilder places and traditional farmland is disappearing fast from our landscapes. We look forward to working with new farming and land managing partners and their communities and welcoming all who wish to be involved in the journey to win the race against time to save our curlews from extinction.”

Rhun Jones, Senior Countryside Ranger - Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB “We are so fortunate that curlews continue to return to traditional breeding grounds here in NE Wales. This key funding will allow us to work closely with farmers, landowners, and the wider community to raise awareness of the plight of curlews and put measures in place to address the causes behind their decline. By implementing targeted conservation efforts and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, we hope that curlews remain an integral feature of the stunning Clwydian Range & Dee Valley landscape for now and for the future.”

Lee Oliver, GWCT Cymru Head of Projects in Wales “GWCT Cymru is delighted to be a partner within this project. We want to get as many people as possible involved in curlew recovery. Curlew will only remain in Wales if those farming and managing the land are given the means and support to reverse their decline. We will do everything we can to save the curlew in Wales.”

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