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Nature fund’s £156k award to protect threatened waders - Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has confirmed that a project to help one of Scotland’s most threatened breeding bird species will be a recipient of the Scottish Government's Biodiversity Challenge Fund.

Curlew ©Lorne Gill SNH

Curlews in Crisis Scotland has been awarded more than £156k to help increase suitable breeding areas and reduce predation for Europe’s largest wader and one of our most distinctive birds.

The project, which links to other work in Scotland aiming to halt the decline of curlew populations, will focus on two special nature sites, in the Highlands and near Muirkirk in East Ayrshire.

Scotland is now home to an estimated 15% of the world’s breeding population of curlews, which has been severely impacted by changes to farming practices and intensification. Farmers in the project area at Airds Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) have been working with SNH and RSPB Scotland to help biodiversity for more than a decade. Curlews in Crisis will continue to work closely with farmers to increase and manage quality habitat for the waders, through rush control and vegetation thinning.

Anne McCall, Director of with RSPB Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic news that SNH has awarded funding to Curlews in Crisis. This unmistakable bird with its long down-curved bill desperately needs help. Our project will bring immediate short term benefits for curlews in Caithness and Ayrshire and allow us to learn more about the causes of the species’ rapid decline. Farmers at the Ayrshire site have done excellent work for nature in recent years and we’re really looking forward to continuing this partnership.”