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Assistance to contracting countries

RAC/SPA has the mandate to coordinate the implementation of the Action plan and to assist the contracting countries. According to the principle that any interested organization, international or national, may take part in the actions necessary, RAC/SPA collaborated with many partners, governmental and non-governmental.

The actions carried out contributed mainly to the improvement of the state of knowledge of the species of Annex II, with the reinforcement of the capacities of the institutions in charge of the monitoring and management of bird populations and to the awareness raising among the wider public.

The following actions have been carried out:

The Slender-billed Curlew Initiative

The Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris is Europe’s and the Western Palearctic’s rarest bird, its population perhaps numbering less than 50 individuals. It is one of the five bird species in Europe, and 190 bird species in the world, most threatened with global extinction, being classified as ‘critically endangered’ by BirdLife International and IUCN.

The Slender-billed Curlew is subject to the highest level of protection under the relevant international treaties. In 1994 the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning conservation measures for the Slender-billed Curlew which has now been signed by 18 of the species’ 30 range states (and 13 potential range states), although unfortunately not yet Russia.

In the framework of the MoU, to coordinate concerted action for the species, in 1997 the Slender-billed Curlew Working Group (SBCWG) was established. After several years of dormancy, since mid-2008 it has been chaired by Nicola Crockford, with Tim Cleeves as the Database and Fieldwork Coordinator.

Its action is guided by the international action plan for this species as published in 1996 and now in the process of revision. The most recent draft of the revision dates back to 2002 and it is intended to finalize it by 2010 for approval by Governments.

One of the key roles of the SBCWG is to maintain the database of records of Slender-billed Curlew and the bibliography. Another is to catalyze research, and especially to help locate the bird. Historical data on habitat preference and diet throughout the range needs to be compiled and an analysis of the distribution of suitable habitat conducted.

A toolkit was designed to be taken into the field, with an identification guide, tips on preparing a search trip, a form for recording any potential sightings and advice on steps to take if you are lucky enough to find a potential Slender-billed Curlew.

The Slender-billed Curlew is listed in Annex II of the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity.

RAC/SPA is participating in the international initiative for the species and has prepared the French version of the leaflet A Toolkit for finding Slender-billed Curlews.