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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Alamy Stock Photo An Eurasian Curlew feeding in a field
curlew champion

Wildlife service set to hire champions to aid with the conservation of curlews

The wildlife service has estimated that without any action, curlews could go extinct as a breeding species within the next five to ten years.

CONCERNS OVER THE conservation of the Eurasian Curlew have led to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) seeking to hire new curlew-specific jobs, including a so-called Curlew Champion.

The move to hire new staff comes as the NPWS say that there are just over 100 pairs of curlews in Ireland, which is a 97% decline since 1990.

The NPWS has estimated that without any action, curlews could go extinct as a breeding species within the next five to ten years.

“Breeding productivity has been so low that population viability analysis predicts that in the absence of any action, the Curlew will go extinct as a breeding species in Ireland within 5-10 years,” said the NPWS.

In August, Noteworthy published an investigation into the accelerated loss of Ireland’s biodiversity.

It detailed how the decline of the curlew is due to a general intensification of land use, from afforestation and agriculture on peat soils and other high nature value areas used by the birds.

The new jobs, which are being advertised on the NPWS website, are primarily focused on working with local landowners and communities to assist curlew breeding efforts in Curlew Action Teams (CAT).

According to the NPWS, there will be a coordinated effort between the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on curlew conservation in 2022.

A spokesperson for the NPWS told The Journal that there had been “significant” engagement with communities on the conservation of the curlew.

“The engagement with local communities on this significant conservation story has been enormous and there isn’t one person who would like to see the Curlew being lost as a sight or sound from their locality.

“However, there is no doubt that after decades of pressure acting against Curlew, this is certainly an uphill battle. We are therefore looking for the best people on the Curlew Action Teams to bolster these efforts.”

The jobs currently on offer are:

  • Curlew Champion
  • Curlew Advisory Officer
  • Nest Protection Assistant
  • CAT Assistant

Under the plans, the NPWS plans to hire a Curlew Champion to help build support for the Curlew Conservation Programme within local communities.

According to the NPWS, they are seeking people who are well known in their local communities and those who have connections with farmers, due to farmers being the primary stakeholders with which the project engages.

“The Curlew Champion will be central to gaining the support of local people to enable a smooth operation of the scheme, including building relations between project personnel and local people,” said the NPWS in the job description.

Curlew Champions are being sought for the Lough Ree, Sliabh Aughty Mountains and Slieve Blooms areas.

Nest Protection Officers’ primary function is to protect curlew nests and chicks from predators within their breeding territories.

They will work to build and maintain fences to protect nests from predators, like foxes, minks, crows and magpies. They will also have to control predators within a 1km zone of any curlew nests, whether through trapping or “humane dispatching”.

The job description says that the officers will be able to engage with local gun clubs and encourage members involved in predator control to “focus efforts in specific areas”.

Currently, Nest Protection Officers are being sought in Inishowen, Slieve Blooms and Mid-Leitrim/North-East Roscommon.

The NPWS is seeking all applications for the positions to be sent in before 5pm on 10 February.

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