Following on from The Story So Far 4…
Determining the population size and trend for Sociable Lapwing is challenging. However, given that virtually the whole eastern flyway appears to be using the Tallymerjan area to prepare for the difficult crossing of the Hindu Kush, both to rest, refuel and wait for appropriate weather conditions, there may now be a way to at least monitor changes in the population. As about a third of all tagged birds have taken the only known eastern route, the estimated 6,000 to 8,000 birds could represent a third of the global population (ie 18,000 to 24,000). With continued annual simultaneous cross-border surveys a firm base-line can be developed, with standardised counts at Tallymerjan being used as an index of trends in the overall population over time.
It is only through continued study that the Sociable Lapwing is as well understood as it is today, leading to conservation intervention with the most likelihood of success. Work through the Preventing Extinctions Programme with Swarovski Optik funding has been the main contributor to progress of the International Single Species Action Plan.
Many challenges remain, not least of which is to reduce illegal killing in the Middle East and Pakistan/India, as well as mitigating the effects of large-scale development (such as that seen at Celanpınar in Turkey), and understanding the role that new habitats such as pivot fields in Saudi Arabia are playing in the lifecycle of this enigmatic bird.