Distribution, Population Size, Habitats and Conservation of Common and Great Snipe in Western Polissia Region
Fen Mires of Ukrainian Polissia – Highly Important Breeding Areas for Rare Waders (Charadrii)
The project aims to study in detail population numbers, distribution, threats and habitat preferences of several rare waders of Ukrainian Polissia and to promote conservation and sustainable usage of wetlands among local communities, especially among hunters.
The current project is the continuation of previous two devoted to research and conservation of waders in the forest zone of Ukraine (Polissia). It has two basic goals: to understand what is happening with waders in poorly studied regions of Ukraine and to mitigate direct human influence (especially hunting) on them.
Our study focuses on 5 rare species of waders. Among them, four (Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Great Snipe) are regarded as near threatened in the IUCN red list. Another one species (Common Snipe) with strong population decline currently has Least Concern status because of its big breeding range.
In this stage of the project, the study territory will be expanded to include poorly studied parts of Ukrainian Polissia: Zhytomyr region during the first field season, and Kyiv region during the second. This will allow us to estimate population numbers and to clarify the distribution of forest zone waders for the entire country because target species breed mostly in north parts of Ukraine within the Polissia nature region. Collected information will be useful to update species statuses and numbers for the national red list, and in European scale for such projects as Second European Atlas of Breeding Birds or European red list. A big part of the project will be also dedicated to the work with volunteers, in order to create a strong network of people who are able to conduct monitoring and conservation activities for long period in future.
This time we plan to dedicate much more time to the ecological education of local communities because in Ukrainian circumstances this is the only realistic way to improve waders conservation and to mitigate the effect of direct human influence on them. We are going to involve local hunters and other volunteers to data collection. Also, we are going to publish a lot of educative materials which can be used by locals as simple bird guide and source of information about conservation problems. Within the project, we will train a group of volunteers selected among young specialists (mostly biology students) to participate in data collection. All these educative activities should build a strong network of people who will be able to participate in future monitoring and whom we plan to involve to practical conservation later.