Aims of the Project
The main aim of the project is to stop the population decline and to achieve the favourable conservation status of great snipe Gallinago media in Poland. This will be achieved through the implementation of the six specific objectives and accompanying activities. They derive directly from the analysis of the great snipe’s conservation status, its habitats and the threats identified in the National Action Plan for great snipe. The plan was approved by the Director of the General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOŚ), Mr. Krzysztof Lissowski, on March 2, 2017. Consequently, the above main aim, as well as objectives and actions proposed in this project are identical with those identified in the Action Plan.
The main reason for the decline of great snipe’s abundance and the reduction of its range in Poland from 1980s to 1990s is the loss of nesting habitats due to unfavourable environmental changes caused mainly by anthropogenic factors. In the 1990s, the domestic population of great snipe was estimated at 750-900 displaying males (Pugacewicz 2002). At present, its population is estimated at 400-550 males (Chodkiewicz et al. 2015). Therefore, in comparison to the 1990s, we can talk about a drastic decline of the species reaching over 40%. By far, the most serious current threats to the great snipe population, found in all the key sites, are the habitat desiccation and its loss due to succession. The predation of native and introduced species is also important.
Stopping the population decline and achieving the favourable conservation status of great snipe will be attained through the following objectives:
Considering the completed and ongoing local conservation projects for great snipe, the implementation of the measures proposed in this project is tailored to the current needs of the species in each site. Most of the active protection projects have already been implemented in Podlasie region, which stresses the need to concentrate such activities in Lublin region.
Objective 1 will be accomplished by purchasing land within existing or historical lekking sites, improving the hydrological conditions, restoring the overgrown habitats and introducing grazing, as the most optimal way of creating the appropriate breeding conditions. Cooperation with farmers will also be established to incorporate the management models developed as part of the National Action Plan within lekking sites.
Objective 2 will be accomplished by protecting the nests and leks against predators. The action will be accomplished by controlling foxes and potentially raccoon dogs in the areas adjacent to the leks.
Since there is the National Monitoring of Great Snipe Scheme in Poland, actions under Objective 3 focus on finding new lekking sites and assessing threats in the priority sites in Poland and in Belarus.
Objective 4. We will actively lobby for legislative changes within agricultural, water and hunting policies, to develop legislation that support the appropriate nesting conditions.
Objective 5. The research activities will focus on defining the micro- and macro-habitat preferences, the size of territories used by individual birds and food resources. Additional emphasis will be placed on studying females, which will be implemented using previously not available small GPS-GSM transmitters.
Objective 6. In order to co-ordinate the implementation of the Action Plan and this project, it is necessary to set up a Working Group composed of representatives of all institutions responsible and involved in the protection of great snipe in Poland. Actions to promote sharing of knowledge about the great snipe and its protection will be realised through the annual Symposium of Practitioners, networking visits, the website and a series of promotional materials that will be used in collaboration with farmers and other interest groups.