WHCT grant helps to protect the common pochard in Lithuania

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) is giving 18,000 euros to a project to protect the habitat and breeding grounds of the common pochard in Lithuania.

Land use changes in Lithuania have threatened the lakes and wetland habitats favoured by breeding pairs of this migratory duck species and its numbers throughout Europe have declined.

The project is a continuation of ongoing work on the Nemunas River delta and will allow for the restoration and sustainable management of key breeding habitats and also the designation of important moulting sites in the Baltic region.

Dr Saulius Svazas, project co-ordinator, said: “This project supported by the WHCT is important for sustainable management of common pochard in Eastern Europe.

“It is necessary to designate the key moulting sites of common pochards in Eastern Europe as conditions in sites supporting large numbers of ducks can impact the overall population trends.”

Paul Williamson, secretary to the WHCT, said: “On behalf of the WHCT trustees I would like to thank Dr Svazas for his thorough and comprehensive application.

“Once again the WHCT is pleased to assist this vital conservation work on the Nemunas River Delta and wish the team every success as they strive to sustain the habitats of not only the common pochard but also the safeguarding of other wildfowl species.”

Over the last ten years, trustees of the WHCT have made grants totalling over £80,000 to international projects. These include habitat restoration projects on stopover sites for migratory wildfowl in Lithuania, Belarus and the Kaliningrad region of Russia. These projects have proved extremely successful as they have improved the habitat significantly.

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust welcomes both national and international grant applications and is keen to support projects which target the conservation of known breeding habitats of the UK’s migratory species.

Established in 1986 by members of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to date the WHCT has awarded grants totalling £181,775.

WHT loan helps Bridgwater Bay wildfowlers buy new land

The Wildlife Habitat Trust (WHT) has given Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association a loan of £14,000 towards the purchase of new land for the club.

The purchase of 6.22 acres consists of low-lying wetlands and traditional pasture. The club says it was a “welcome addition” to its portfolio and would allow members to maintain the conservation of the land and offer new opportunities during the wildfowling season.

Jeremy Bell, land steward for Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association, said: “The WHT loan to buy six acres was pivotal in allowing us to continue to forge ahead with our goal of buying strategically placed land and securing the club’s future for shooting and conservation.

“The comprehensive process of application for the loan was clear to understand and was dealt with very efficiently. I would highly recommend the procedure to any club looking to do a similar venture.”

Paul Williamson, BASC’s head of land management, said: “We have a proud history of working with the Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association and are thrilled that the club has once again made a successful land purchase enabling the continued provision of access for its members.

“We applaud the club’s valuable contribution and long-term commitment to land and wildlife conservation, particularly their work on sustainable habitat management which is vital to the Somerset area.”

The WHT is dedicated to raising and distributing funds to help with the acqusition of land for conservation and shooting. It was established in 1986 by members of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

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