Wednesday, 16 December 2015
The spoonbill sandpiper
On Radio 4's "Tweet-of-the-Day" on Sunday morning, I heard about the spoonbill sandpiper.
This attractive little bird is in serious decline from 2000 pairs in the wild in the 1970s down to 100 pairs in 2011 and even fewer now. Trapping for food and habitat degradation are to blame. They breed in Kamchatka and overwinter in Bangla Desh, migrating through Japan, China and Korea.
I grieve to hear this but am struck by how easy it is to blame people in other countries when our own record on habitat maintenance is so poor. Turning so-called waste land into housing estates, railways, food production and football pitches, we too are destroying habitats which untold numbers of plant and animal species depend on.
Maybe it is inevitable that the world's wildlife will gradually die out. But we should look at our own record on, for example, loss of ancient woodlands, wetlands, heaths and grasslands before we rail about the destruction of rainforests and the hunting of whales. In our way we kill far more creatures with our garden pesticides and obsession with tidying up nature, than poor villagers in Africa or India who kill the elephants or tigers that plunder their crops and cattle.
The enemy is poverty. What is our excuse?
Sorry about the rant. Just got a bit riled by some journalists.
There is good work being done to save not only the spoonbill sandpiper but many other creatures and the habitats they need and deserve.