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Ireland wins €4.3 million in EU funding for corncrake conservation project

The population of Corncrake has declined by 85% since the 1970s.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/imageBROKER.com

IRELAND HAS WON €4.3 million from the EU to fund a four-year conservation project for the corncrake, bringing the total budget for the project to €5.89 million.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan welcomed the announcement of €4.3 million in EU Life funding, awarded to her Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, for a project focused on improving the conservation status of the corncrake in Ireland.

Once synonymous with the Irish countryside, the population of the corncrake has declined by 85% since the 1970s, with a 92% decrease in range.

This means that the species is now effectively confined to Connacht and Donegal, including offshore islands; supporting the corncrake in these remaining areas is critical to its survival.

Announcing the award of funding today Madigan said: “The decline in corncrake numbers is of significant conservation concern in Ireland. Conserving species in their natural habitats requires a strategic approach to succeed.”

D24006-0018 The Corncrake Conservation Project. Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Madigan said that the funding “will allow my Department, working in concert with stakeholders across government and the communities in question, to put concrete and sustainable measures in place to help secure the future of this species, which has a special place in Irish culture”.

The €5.9m budget ‘LIFE Atlantic Crex’ project is due to commence in January 2020 and will run for five years. The project will see conservation work funded in project sites in Counties Donegal, Mayo and Galway.

Working in partnership with landowners, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Fota Wildlife Park, the project aims to deliver a 20% increase on the 2018 population of the corncrake recorded in Ireland by 2024.

“During 2019 we have introduced a number of significant measures to protect and promote Ireland’s biodiversity,” Madigan added.”

[These include] introducing an order obliging all public bodies to report on their efforts to protect biodiversity; increasing funding for community groups’ biodiversity projects and; a €7m investment to accelerate peatlands restoration and conservation.

The corncrake is a species listed for special protection under Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive.

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