RSPB Scotland is asking for an emergency native moratorium proscribing capturing on the Solway for the remainder of the wildfowling season. The pressing motion is required to cut back the devastating impacts of avian influenza. New statistics from the latest counts present that the UK is that this winter experiencing the worst outbreak of this lethal illness on document, with migratory geese which ‘over winter’ on the Solway being hardest hit.
The newest inhabitants counts of the Svalbard barnacle goose present a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November final yr to 27,133 on this month’s counts. This represents a decline of 38% within the Svalbard breeding inhabitants of this species from winter 20/21.
The barnacle goose is a protected species and isn’t hunted. The stress from wildfowlers looking different authorized quarry species centres on the disturbance prompted to close by barnacle geese, making flocks take to the air, utilizing up vitality and doubtlessly growing stress.
Barnacle Goose, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries
Paul Walton, head of Habitats and Species at RSPB Scotland, stated: “We’re within the grip of an unprecedented outbreak and sadly the Solway appears to be the epicentre of this within the UK. Our birds are struggling they usually want an pressing reprieve to assist them get by way of this winter and make sure that as many as attainable of these remaining survive to make their migration again residence to Scandinavia to breed in the summertime.
He continued: “One of the simplest ways we are able to do that is by lowering the cumulative impacts of disturbance, together with by wildfowling. We additionally ask that the general public are thoughtful and assist to cut back disturbance by dogs by conserving them beneath shut management alongside the Solway coastal space. Our groups on the bottom are seeing many birds which are sick or dying and beneath vital stress. Something that may be achieved to restrict actions which incur further disturbance at the moment needs to be applied with urgency. This motion may assist these populations throughout this era of catastrophic decline brought on by the outbreak.”
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 offers provision for a brief cessation of looking on wildfowl species in extended durations of freezing climate, a measure supported by each conservation and wildfowling organisations, and we request that this extraordinary Avian Influenza outbreak be given the identical consideration.
The Svalbard barnacle goose is a conservation success story. The world inhabitants declined down to some hundred people after WW2, by way of wartime disturbance within the breeding grounds and overhunting. The introduction of authorized safety within the Fifties, following many years of RSPB advocacy, had a significant constructive impact, leading to a inhabitants of round 40,000 people in recent times. The 38% decline over one yr subsequently represents a severe conservation affect for this species.