Considering the completed and currently ongoing local projects for the protection of great snipe, the activities proposed in this project are adapted to the current needs of the species in individual sites. Most of the active protection projects have so far been implemented in the Podlasie region, which makes it necessary to concentrate this type of activities in the Lublin region. It should be emphasized that the activities in Mazovia will only focus on finding new lekking sites.
Objective 1 will be achieved through the purchase of land within the current or historical lekking sites of great snipe, improvement of water conditions, restoration of habitats and introduction of grazing as the most optimal way of manipulating appropriate habitat conditions. Cooperation with farmers will also be established in order to implement the habitat models developed as part of the SAP within the great snipe lekking areas.
Objective 2 will be achieved through the protection of nests and lekking areas against terrestrial predators. The action will be implemented by controlling fox numbers and, potentially, raccoon dogs in the territories adjacent to the leks. Due to the fact that the National Great Snipe Monitoring is carried out in Poland, activities under Objective 3 will focus on finding new leks and assessing their threats in priority areas in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.
Implementation of Objective 4 will consist in active lobbying for legislative changes in the agricultural, water and hunting policy in order to develop provisions conducive to maintaining favourable breeding conditions for the great snipe.
Objective 5. Research activities will focus on the determination of micro- and macro-habitat preferences, the size of utilisation areas and food resources. Additional emphasis will be placed on researching females, which will be carried out using previously unavailable small GPS-GSM transmitters.
Objective 6. In order to coordinate the implementation of the SAP and this project, it is necessary to establish a Working Group composed of representatives of all institutions responsible and involved in the protection of great snipe in Poland. Activities promoting the exchange of knowledge about great snipe ecology and its conservation will be implemented through the annual symposium of great snipe conservation practitioners, a website and a number of promotional materials that will be used in cooperation with farmers and other interest groups.
As part of the previous LIFE project for the active conservation of the great snipe in the Upper Narew River Valley (LIFE11 NAT/PL/436), implemented together with the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (2012-16), Natura International Polska prepared the National Action Plan for the Great Snipe in Poland (SAP), which was subsequently approved by the General Directorate for Environmental Protection in Warsaw. On the basis of the SAP, together with the Lublin Ornithological Society, we have prepared a LIFE project for the implementation of the first phase of the SAP in 2019-2024.
The main reason for the decline in the number of the great snipe in Poland and the reduction of its range compared to the 1980s and 1990s is the loss of breeding habitats as a result of unfavourable environmental changes, mainly caused by anthropogenic factors. In the 1990s, the national population of the great snipe was estimated at 750-900 mating males. Currently, its number is estimated at 400-550 males. Compared to the 1990s, we can therefore speak of a drastic decline in the species abundance reaching over 40%. By far the most serious current threat to the population of the great snipe, identified in all key species sites, is the lack of water, followed by abandonment of land and consequent succession of the habitats. Predation of native and introduced species was also indicated as significant.
© Marcin Lenart
The main goal of the project is to stop the decline of the great snipe population and to achieve the favourable conservation status of the species in Poland. This will be achieved through the implementation of the six specific objectives and accompanying activities. They result directly from the analysis of the conservation status assessment of great snipe and its habitats as well as identified threats carried out as part of the development of the National Action Plan.
Halting the population decline and achieving the favourable conservation status of great snipe will be achieved through the implementation of the following intermediate objectives:
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