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New plan to stop extinction of corncrake in Ireland

The bird used to be widespread in Ireland but is now only found along the north coast of Donegal and in the west of Mayo and Connemara.

Image: Shutterstock/SunTime

A NEW PLAN is being developed to save the corncrake from extinction.

The bird used to be widespread in Ireland but is now only found along the north coast of Donegal and in the west of Mayo and Connemara.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‘State of the Environment’ report at the end of last year stated that the corncrake “may become no more than a memory if this degradation of habitats continues”.

Over the past two years over €560,000 has been spent on a government programme aimed at saving the corncrake. It’s understood that the population of the male population dropped from 230 to 168 (27%) in that time.

This week the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs announced that it’s developing a new management plan to design a way forward for the conservation of corncrakes on the Falcarragh to Meenlaragh Special Protection Area in Donegal.

Dr. Barry O’Donoghue of the the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said, “It is very important to the NPWS that local people to have a say in how this Special Protection Area should be managed for the corncrake.

Through this consultation process we hope to develop a workable management plan for the area which will benefit local people and the corncrake population.

“This will ensure the area’s natural heritage is protected and enhanced as well as its cultural, social and linguistic heritage.”

The consultations are expected to be held in the coming months and a draft plan will also be issued for comments before final publication.

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The bird migrates from Africa to Ireland each summer before returning to the hot climate for winter.

Birdwatch Ireland says the distinct sound the corncrake makes has been compared with two cheese-graters rubbed together, producing a sound so monotonous as to qualify the bird as the world’s worst singer.

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