[Rob Sheldon, the RSPB's Head of International Species Recovery Team, is out in Bangladesh at the moment - here are his thoughts from the field]

Regular readers of the our Saving Species blog will be aware of the partnership, including the RSPB, that is battling to save the spoon-billed sandpiper from extinction, The bird migrates from its breeding grounds in far-eastern Russia, through the inter-tidal habitats of China, before spending the winter in places such as Myanmar and Bangladesh. 

Our work directly supports conservation efforts on the wintering grounds in Bangladesh, notably at Sonadia Island, one of the most important wintering sites for the spoonie.  Work is funded by SOS and aims to raise awarenss of the importance of the area amongst local communities, and helps to provide alternative livelihoods to subsistence hunters, who catch the birds accidentally in their nets.  I'm currently reviewing the progress of the first six months of the project with Sayam U Chowdhury and and Md Foysal of the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project. 

I think progress has been FANTASTIC.  Today we visited Ghotibanga village and everywhere you go there are spoon-billed sandpiper posters and calendars. 

Rob Sheldon [nice hat - ed] after he spotted one of the spoon-billed sandpiper posters.

One of the posters - below

 

Sayam and Foysal arrange for me to meet ten of the hunters to discuss an education and awareness raising event to be held locally on World Migratory Bird Day. 

Meeting the locals - picture credit Scott Howes

The pride in knowing that the area is important for spoon-billed sandpiper is evident and the local people understand the need to conserve shorebirds in general.  Sayam told me that "the work has gone extremely well, and we are trying to really deliver conservation through the local communities.  Through the provision of alternative livelihoods we have seen hunting reduced to almost zero.  Hunters are now working as fisherman, tailors and watermelon producers.  The awareness raising event we held in December 2012 involved close to a thousand people, local government and non-government representatives."

I reached the island by the local speedboat service and as I crossed the channel it was obvious that the surrounding waters are important for local fisherman.  We saw more than fifty boats each with half a dozen fishermen on board.  Whilst surveying for shorebirds I also saw how salt production was employing hundreds of people.  The area is clearly not only of international significance for its wintering shorebird populations, but also for the local people.

This work is supported by SOS and WWT.  Watch out for the next update on our work in Bangladesh. For general updates see -  http://www.saving-spoon-billed-sandpiper.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous
  • Good work that you are doing there. A large number of animal species is now endangered because of many factors mentioned at official websites and https://edubirdie.net/ can help you in writing concise article about what we need to do to save them. Glad to know that the edu birdie and local population in Bangladesh know the importance of preserving this bird and hunting has been toned down.