The Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus
pygmeus), which is listed on both CMS Appendices, will
benefit from better conservation through an International
Single Species Action Plan. The report with current data
on distribution, threats and recommended activities to prevent
this species from becoming extinct, has been published by
the Convention on Migratory Species and BirdLife International.
The Action Plan comprises a broad range
of activities co-ordinated by BirdLife International with
financial support from CMS. During the Plan’s development,
regional networks of ornithologists and conservationists
were established among the range states of the Spoon-billed
Sandpiper ranging from South Asia, South East Asia, East
Asia and north-eastern Russia. The conservation measures
proposed in the Action Plan aim to ensure legal protection
of breeding sites, restore claimed wetland sites and stop
hunting and trapping at key sites.
The tiny population of the Spoon-billed
Sandpiper is undergoing a dramatic decline. A number of
threats such as habitat loss in breeding, passage and wintering
grounds, human disturbance, hunting and the impact of climate
change has put the species at serious risk. Since the 1970s
the number of breeding pairs has been reduced to a tenth
of its original level to an estimated 150 to 320 pairs only.
Industry, infrastructure and aquaculture destroy the tidal flats used by the Spoon-billed Sandpiper as stepping stones during its migration. This poses a major threat to this long-distant migrant, which travels 8,000 km between its breeding grounds in Russia and its wintering grounds in Eastern and Southern Asia.
Current conservation activities include establishing protected areas in the bird’s breeding, staging and wintering areas, undertaking annual surveys of breeding sites and reducing hunting pressure.
In addition, education and awareness programmes should be undertaken. An international monitoring system shall observe possible success of the conservation measures.
In 2010 the CMS Secretariat funded a project in Myanmar to understand the socio-economic conditions of hunters and their villages, and to propose alternative livelihoods. The information gathered is already being used as a basis for immediate action as well as for the long-term conservation of the species.
The Action Plan will be a very useful
tool for policy makers and national authorities, as it outlines
the priority measures that have to be undertaken to improve
the conservation status of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
The publication is expected to help raise
awareness on the status of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and
to encourage further research and monitoring in the field
along with implementing conservation activities. The Action
Plan is designed to further enhance regional cooperation
towards ensuring the long-term survival of the species.