Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper: a conservation update

Published on 07 June 2018 in Main articles

By Debbie Pain, Baz Hughes, Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, Christoph Zöckler, Sayam Chowdhury and Nigel Clark

Abstract The Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea is one of the most threatened waders in the world. Its population declined dramatically in the decade to 2010, and without concerted conservation action it would now have been on the cusp of extinction. In 2010, conservation organisations from along the species’ migratory flyway, supported by organisations and individuals in the UK and elsewhere, joined forces to try to save it. In this paper, we describe the action taken and the challenges that remain. The work so far has made a substantial difference to the chances of survival of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, its intertidal habitats and other species suffering similar threats. It has also benefited the people who live alongside it. However, much more needs to be done and there are still gaps in our knowledge about what is required to save this flagship species.

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The survey team looking for Spoon-billed Sandpipers on the wintering grounds in the Gulf of Mottama, January 2017. Christoph Zöckler