Following on from The Story So Far 3…
For Sociable Lapwing conservation, raising local awareness is vital, particularly in areas where illegal killing takes place. Hunting mitigation work takes place routinely during surveys, with researchers taking all opportunities to discuss the issues of hunting with local people and stakeholders.
Arabic materials, including hunting awareness posters, have been produced for use in Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, while pin badges and leaflets are available in Gujarati, Russian, English and Turkish. Two desk calendars were printed and distributed to participating organisations to give to local stakeholders (2009 and 2012).
Work across the range of the Sociable Lapwing is only possible because of the collaboration of a large number of partners, and the skills transferred between them. Strong links have been formed between BirdLife Partners and government representatives such as in Central Asia where colleagues from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan have collaborated on the Tallymerjan surveys. In the longer term it is hoped that co-ordination of Sociable Lapwing activity and development of the AEWA Action Plan can be led from within the region as capacity there grows. RSPB staff have also spent their sabbaticals working on Sociable Lapwing in India, Syria, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Swarovski Optik has also provided top-quality optical equipment to several of the field teams over the years, and the RSPB’s Second-hand Binocular Scheme has passed on kit kindly donated by RSPB members. PEP/Swarovski Optik money has been vital in leveraging additional funds for field expedition costs and equipment, including a new 4×4 vehicle for use in Kazakhstan.
Workshops and field training events have also been used to build capacity, both informally, such as through in-the-field training of junior or inexperienced staff in standardised methodologies, and formally through workshops. For example: surveys in Iraq were used to train new fieldworkers in survey methods and bird identification; in April 2008 RSPB and ACBK experts ran a workshop for the most promising 20 undergraduate biology students from six universities in Kazakhstan (followed up by a second group of 18); and biology students at the annual Korghalzhyn State Nature Reserve Summer Camps were also supported by project staff.
Joint funding by The Darwin Initiative and Swarovski Optik supported a 2009 workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan to develop the draft Sociable Lapwing Species Action Plan. At the end of the Darwin project in 2011 the first AEWA Sociable Lapwing International Working Group meeting was held in Palmyra, Syria, which led to the adoption of the International Action Plan. An additional workshop was held in Syria as part of the AEWA Implementation Review Process in 2010. The workshop was attended by more than 50 Syrian delegates from government agencies and NGOs, to local communities.
These long-term collaborations have also enabled the improvement of field techniques, including more efficient ways to trap birds safely before attaching transmitters. Methods trialled have even included a papier-mâché owl called Brookie, used to attract adult birds towards mist-nets as they try to ward off a perceived predator.
Read more soon…