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New Forest National Park features at summit hosted by The Prince of Wales to save rare bird

New Forest National Park features at summit hosted by The Prince of Wales to save rare bird

PUBLISHED ON: 3 MARCH 2020

The New Forest National Park was at the heart of a summit hosted by The Prince of Wales to discuss ways to save the rare curlew.

About 10% of the remaining population of curlews in southern England are found in the New Forest – just 40 pairs – and they have seen a decline of two thirds in the last decade. The curlew population is extremely important in the National Park and in some ways is a barometer for the well-being of wildlife in the New Forest.

The New Forest was represented at the summit by New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes, and Prof Russell Wynn, Director of Wild New Forest.

The focus on curlews was a result of their dramatic recent decline in the UK and across Europe. Those at the summit said curlew conservation could potentially act as a catalyst for change in the way we farm and use rural environments for the benefit of all biodiversity.

Alison Barnes was the leader of a round-table discussion about how to balance protected landscapes, helping species to recover, and public access, which is highly relevant to the New Forest and other National Parks. She said: ‘The discussions explored various actions we could take to support breeding curlews, to educate and inspire the public about these fantastic birds and to boost ongoing conservation efforts.’

Over the last four years Wild New Forest and Forestry England have led surveys which have consistently shown about 40 curlew territories mainly at New Forest valley mires, bogs and damp heaths. The New Forest coast is also an important wintering site for the species.

Prof Wynn said: ‘Our breeding curlews will start arriving on territory in March and April, and between then and early July it is vitally important that all forest users stick to main tracks during this time to avoid disturbing the birds or potentially attracting the attention of predators such as foxes and crows.’

The New Forest National Park Authority is working closely with Forestry England to reduce pressures on breeding curlews. Alison Barnes said: ‘We are providing additional seasonal rangers and improving signage across the New Forest to help alert the public to key curlew breeding areas and asking them to help us during the breeding season for the benefit of curlews and other ground-nesting birds.’

Members of the public can also support New Forest curlew monitoring by emailing any sightings away from the coast, in the March to July period, to info@wildnewforest.co.uk.

Find out more about curlews in the new Forest at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/discover/wildlife/wading-birds/curlew/

-ends-

Notes to editors:

About Wild New Forest

Wild New Forest is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), focused on delivery of high-quality wildlife survey and monitoring data to support wildlife conservation and management, and to inform, involve and inspire people about the wealth of wildlife in the New Forest. They have been working on New Forest curlews since 2016, in partnership with Forestry England.

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect – Enjoy – Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:
-Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect.
-Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:
Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media contact:

Maria Court, Communications Officer
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: maria.court@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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