Spoon-billed-Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
on the breeding grounds, © Jan van de Kam / Birds Korea
The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a small Critically Endangered Asian shorebird with a unique spoon-shaped bill and a world population of now less than 400 individuals. Nesting in the far north-east of Asia and wintering in South and South-east Asia, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper depends on tidal-flats during migration for its survival. Reclamation at Saemangeum and of other key sites in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China in combination with tidal barrages and other threats along the Flyway, resulted in a massive decrease of 26% of population per year during the 2000s. This species will therefore likely become the first Korean bird species to become globally extinct in the wild this century – unless much greater conservation action is taken.
A special global “Task Force” has been established to help coordinate conservation actions along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Birds Korea is the Korean NGO representative of this Task Force. Our work for the species has included the Saemangeum Shorebird Monitoring Program, annual gathering and sharing of count data, research into the status of tidal-flats and numerous public awareness outputs and activities.
In 2013, we will help with work on a short children’s animation (a project led by the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society) and as proposed also develop a short high-quality multi-media documentary on the species.
Of course, work for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is about much more than the survival of this one species.
“The extinction of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other shorebirds would not only be a loss to birdwatchers and nature-lovers. It would signal the loss of the nation’s most important wetlands. It would signal the decline or extinction of numerous other species also dependent upon tidal-flats. And clearest of all it would signal a failure of national conservation policy and action”.
(Dr. Nial Moores, National Nature Trust Magazine, December 2012)
October 17 2013
News Bulletin No. 10
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Birds Korea SBS
Update Feb. 2013
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