New partnership to save England’s endangered curlews

The Curlew Recovery Partnership is a new, exciting and transformative initiative that brings together everyone interested in protecting Curlew, including land managers, farmers, rangers, policymakers and researchers. They are teaming up to secure the future of one of England’s best known and most endangered species, the Eurasian curlew.

Urgent action is required. The curlew is one of the top priority bird conservation priorities in the UK, where nearly half of the breeding population has been lost in the last 25 years and where the curlew has disappeared due to the contraction of range from many traditional locations.

The partnership is the result of Curlew Recovery Summits hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales in Dartmoor in March 2018 and Highgrove in February 2020. She will coordinate and support those concerned with the conservation of curlews, while benefiting them from other threatened species and habitats that will help people reconnect with nature:

Curlew, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales said: “The curlew’s haunted cry is all too seldom heard. This most wonderful bird is in desperate need of support and I am delighted that following the meetings in Dartmoor in March 2018 and Highgrove in February 2020, the England Curlew Recovery Partnership has been created to bring together all who can and can help provide that support to promote this vital cause to the public; I am sure many of them do not know exactly how special the curlew is and what role they can play in saving it for the benefit of present and future generations. “

The partnership recently appointed Mary Colwell as chairman and Prof. Russell Wynn as manager. Supported by a steering group, they will drive the partnership forward, drawing on the partnership’s extensive combined experience in curlew protection, research and public engagement.

In Mary’s words, “The disappearance of curlews from the open countryside of England is deeply sad and a very tangible reminder of the crisis facing our wildlife. The Curlew Recovery Partnership is determined to work together to find solutions to reverse its decline and change our relationship with nature. It is an honor to be part of this initiative. “

The partnership steering group consists of nine organizations: Bolton Castle Estate, British Ornithology Trust (BTO), Curlew Action, Curlew Country, Duchy of Cornwall, Wildlife Conservation (GWCT), Natural England, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) ) and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Established with financial support from Defra, the partnership will explore ways to embed curlew recovery into Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) and the Nature Recovery Network.

Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England said: “Unfortunately, the Eurasian curlew is very rare in many parts of England. If this decline continues, there is a significant risk that future generations will not be able to enjoy these wonderful birds. We look forward to being part of the steering group of the partnership that brings together those who are equally passionate about restoring these iconic birds. The partnership launched today is an example of the kind of positive collaboration we know is needed to reverse the declining fate of many of our wildlife species. “

The partnership now seeks to work with anyone interested in saving England’s curlews and will provide a channel for the flow of information and future funding to support those who work on the ground. To participate, please email [email protected] (mailto: [email protected]) or visit the website at

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