More than 3,000 critically endangered sociable lapwings have been found in the Ceylanpinar district of south-eastern Turkey after a satellite tag was fitted to one of the birds migrating from breeding grounds in Kazakhstan.
The tracked lapwing had flown more than 2,000 miles from its nesting site, where numbers of the species have plunged following the collapse of Soviet farming. The bird flew north of the Caspian Sea, then down through the Caucasus and south into Turkey.
Other birds including geese, albatrosses and bald ibis have been fitted with satellite tags before but the sociable lapwing is the smallest bird yet to carry such a tracking device.
The RSPB’s Dr Rob Sheldon, who tagged the bird in Kazakhstan, said: “This discovery is something we didn’t dare dream of. The sociable lapwing is one of the rarest birds on earth and suddenly it’s been found in these large numbers.
“It shows just how important both Kazakhstan and Turkey have become for the survival of this species. The next step is to protect the bird, both on its breeding grounds and at all the key sites on its migration route.”
Only 200 pairs of sociable lapwing were thought to remain in 2003 when the bird was classified as critically endangered, the highest level of threat there is.
Nests at breeding sites were being trampled where land was still farmed and elsewhere, vegetation was too dense for young chicks to survive. Breeding has improved more recently, however, and conservationists feared that hunting and habitat change on migration routes were reducing the bird’s numbers.
Then, last Friday, researchers from the Turkish conservation group Doga Dernegi found 1,800 sociable lapwing in Ceylanpinar and the next day, a total of 3,200 of the birds. They were following the co-ordinates provided by satellites for the bird that had flown from Kazakhstan.
Özge Balkiz, a scientist at Doga Dernegi, said: “This is a major breakthrough in efforts to help these birds and will be enormously significant in planning their protection. They could still move on to Iraq or East Africa but if they stay in Turkey, it will be much easier to make them safe. We can keep an eye on them here, raise awareness amongst local people and work with the Turkish government to protect the areas they are using.”
The tagging project is partly paid for by the UK government’s Darwin Initiative and conservationists from Britain and Kazakhstan hope to win new funds to tag more birds next summer.
The long-term hope is that other migrating flocks will be found and that researchers can relax their efforts to help the bird.
Maxim Koshkin of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan, said: “Understanding the migration from breeding sites in Kazakhstan is essential for the future protection of this species, so the news of such a large flock is a great cause for celebration.”
Guven Eken, Executive Director of Doga Dernegi, said: “By tracking a single bird from its Kazakh breeding grounds, we have found the location of most of the world population of these birds in Turkey. Sociable lapwings are finally living up to their name.”
Cath Harris | alfa
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences