THE Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) has donated 30,000 euros to a conservation project to help wigeon.
Wigeon are among the best known ducks in North West Europe, with the male’s characteristic whistle well known by wildfowlers and bird watchers. They visit Britain in the autumn before returning to breeding grounds in the spring.
But their numbers have reduced due to a loss of key wetland staging-grounds in Belarus and Lithuania during the last ten years, which has diminished their ability to rest and refuel.
Around 30,000 wigeon have been recorded at a crucial site on the Nemunas River Delta between Lithuania and Russia and 150,000 on the Pripyat River floodplain in southern Belarus. But the WHCT hope that improving these sites will increase breeding rates.
The grant will fund mapping of the sites and improve habitats by cutting back bushes and restoring grazing to ensure wigeon have access to nutritionally-essential grasses and herbs. The money will also be used to raise awareness amongst local farmers of the importance of these sites and the birds they support.
The WHCT is the grant-giving arm of conservation charity the Wildlife Habitat Trust (WHT), which was set up by BASC and the request of members to provide funds for shooting and conservation.
During the last eight years, the WHCT has distributed over £60,000 to projects in Lithuania, Russia and Belarus which benefit UK-bound wildfowl.
Tim Russell, BASC’s director of conservation and secretary to the WHT, said: “Migratory wildfowl are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and loss of habitat.
“The money the WHCT has spent on flyway conservation projects is important not only to people that shoot, but also to people that just like looking at birds. These projects show that shooters really do care about conservation.”
This project was recognised as a good example of its kind by the chairman and delegates of the recent meeting of the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), held in Bonn, Germany.
THE Wildlife Habitat Trust (WHT) has loaned Frodsham & District Wildfowlers Club £50,000 to help buy 16 acres of marshland.
The purchase of an area of marshes known locally as Woolley’s allows the club to extend conservation projects such as new scrapes and hedgerows.
Tim Russell, WHT secretary and director of conservation at BASC, said: “The club has an excellent record of managing land for conservation and I am sure this land will benefit from their efforts.”
Club secretary Grant Evans said: “The loan gives us access to another parcel of land between the river and our natural boundary of the motorway. This will allow us to manage and keep improving all aspects of conservation in the area.”
The WHT is dedicated to raising and distributing funds to help with the acquisition of land either for shooting, especially wildfowling, or for nature conservation or both. It was set up in 1986 by members of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) has awarded a grant of £3000 to Lough Erne Wildfowling Council (LEWC) towards a Wader Recovery Project on Boa Island, Co. Fermanagh.
The five year project aims to increase breeding wader densities and the breeding success of lapwings, redshank, snipe and curlew on Boa Island. The project also aims to demonstrate a successful model for wader recovery, employing both habitat and predator management, which could be implemented elsewhere.
The site is situated on Boa Island, Lower Lough Erne and is a genuine partnership between Lough Erne wildfowlers and local farmers. Changes in agricultural practices, in conjunction with factors such as increased levels of predation have contributed to breeding wader population declines in Fermanagh and across Ireland.
Chairman of LEWC Tom McGoldrick said “I’m delighted to receive this significant financial contribution from The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust. The grant demonstrates the commitment of the shooting community (locally and further afield) to protecting key breeding wetland bird species in Fermanagh and the wider biodiversity associate with their habitats.”
The WHCT is the grant-giving arm of the Wildlife Habitat Trust (WHT), set up by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), to be shooting’s conservation charity.
Tim Russell WHT secretary and director of conservation at BASC said: “I am delighted the WHCT is supporting this important project. Breeding waders have suffered serious declines in recent years due to loss of habitat and predation. This project shows that people that shoot care deeply about wildlife and are prepared to invest their time in protecting it.”
For more information on Lough Erne Wildfowling Council please visit http://lewc.org.uk/
Each year the WHT issues a £5 stamp featuring specially commissioned wildlife artwork. All funds generated by the sale of these stamps are distributed to deserving projects through the Wildlife Habitat Trust and the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (Registered charity no. 1013816). This year’s WHT stamp has been painted by wildlife artist Jackie Garner and features Mallard on Bridgwater Bay.
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