Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
231. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the use of Larsen traps as part of the curlew conservation programme will be discontinued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21588/18]
There are a number of native Irish breeding birds, particularly ground nesting birds, that are of priority conservation concern and have been “red-listed”. This includes Curlew, which has declined by 97% in Ireland since the 1980s and which needs significant effort to stabilise the population and save it from extinction in Ireland.
One of the primary issues for Curlew (and other ground nesting birds) is been excessive predation rates, including by corvids (especially Grey Crows and Magpies).
Magpies and Grey Crows are legally and humanely controlled by professional operatives on contract to the National Parks and Wildlife Serviceof my Department, in a targeted and very localised way in the vicinity of Curlew breeding sites. This is to help this rare and threatened species rear its young, without eggs or chicks being taken. Larsen traps are used as an effective part of this effort to save the Curlew and are used by conservation bodies across Ireland and Britain in efforts to support a range of threatened species from predation.