WildSounds has been the BirdLife Species Champion for Spoon-billed Sandpiper since 2008. We were the inaugural Species Champion and have been encouraged that this species has attracted so much support from the likes of Heritage Expeditions and even Disney.
The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a bird in near terminal decline. In a last ditch attempt to save the species from extinction, a small captive breeding population has been established at Slimbridge in the UK. Few would argue that captive breeding is an ideal solution, but with pioneering techniques and considerable effort, programmes such as "Head-start" are raising young birds and releasing them as sub-adults in their native environment and the results are encouraging.
One of the reasons we supported the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions programme and specifically the Spoon-billed Sandpiper was because we recognised that the difficulties facing this particularly species is a mirror to hundreds of other species that follow the same migratory path as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. From Russia to Asia, the bird is falling prey to habitat destruction and indiscriminate hunting practices - problems that affect all the birds that use the East Asia flyway. Apart from the very specific problems faced by Spoonie in its breeding grounds the project, headed by Species Guardians such as Christoph Zoëckler, BANCA in Myanmar and BCST in Thailand, will not succeed unless there is significant international co-operation and grass-roots effort to protect vulnerable wetlands in Asia.
We feel passionately that Spoonie can be saved in the wild and that it is worth saving. As Species Champion we tell everyone we meet about the bird, raise funds to help the Species Guardians and offer practical advice and assistance to them where possible. We have shaken buckets (rather vigorously) at the Celebrity Lecture at Birdfair; we've put out penny pots at all the events we attend; we have even added a virtual penny pot to our on-line shopping basket and have been stunned by the level of support that it has received.
We've even gone further. In 2010 we bought 2000 pin-badges of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and a similar amount in 2011/12. These badges are being distributed to shops up and down the country to raise awareness of the bird and its plight and also hopefully raise much needed cash to support the programme.
So, if you see the badges, take one and donate generously.Click here to meet the Species Guardians (whom we support through Birdlife International) and read more about their head-start and captive breeding programmes.
Sue in our offices putting backing-plates on the pin-badges (only 1999 left to go)!
The first badge.
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