EU-funded conservation effort brings local South Devon bird back from extinction - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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EU-funded conservation effort brings local South Devon bird back from extinction

Tuesday, 18 March 2014
A South Devon bird which faced extinction in the 1980s is now starting to recover thanks to an EU-funded recovery programme.

Thanks to the European Rural Development stewardship fund which began in 2003 and CAP agri-environment funding, the RSPB and local farmers have been able to build up the bird’s population from just over 100 pairs in 1989 to almost 900 in 2009. By the end of the 2013 breeding season over 60 young Cirl Bunting birds had been spotted, which was especially high given the number of breeding pairs that had been sighted in the same period.

Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has hailed efforts to save the Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus), a small bird with a yellow and black crown, which almost died out 25 years ago due to the lack of food and nesting sites.

The bird is now only found in South Devon between Plymouth and Exeter, even though at its peak it was seen across Southern England.

Commenting, Sir Graham said: “I am pleased that the 10-year EU scheme has allowed local charities to bring this little bird back from the brink.

I have told the RSPB and others that they will have my full support in Brussels if they need to renew the funding. We must do our utmost to protect our precious wildlife and preserve the tranquil and unspoilt environment in which they live.


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