Spoon-billed Sandpiper exhibition opens in the Russian Arctic

An exhibition called “Saving Spoon-billed Sandpiper” opened on 8th October 2012 in Anadyr, the main town in Chukotka region in the far north-east of Russia. The opening ceremony was attended by many influential local people and organisations, including the Governor of Chukotka, Roman Kopin. It coincided with a Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) meeting in Anadyr, so representatives from all Arctic countries were able to join the ceremony.

“This may be the first time in Russia that an entire exhibition has been devoted to a single species of bird”, said Elena Lappo from Birds Russia, which organised the event. “It has already attracted a lot of attention in the media, including prime time interviews on local TV, articles in the top Chukotka newspaper and national coverage in Moscow”.

The exhibition is taking place in the heart of the breeding range of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and it aims to raise awareness that this local bird is one of the most threatened in the world. It has a focus on Meinypil’gyno, a site to the south of Anadyr which supports the last relatively large breeding population of the species.

Birds Russia has conducted conservation research on Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Meinypil’gyno and in other parts of its range in Russia for more than ten years, led by Evgeny Syroechkovskiy. The exhibition presents the results of this work, including recommendations for the creation of local protected areas at key breeding grounds.

Scientific and popular articles, posters, videos and computer presentations are used to describe the migration and wintering grounds of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and to illustrate the threats that it faces. The work of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force is highlighted, including activities to address the hunting of shorebirds and the loss of intertidal wetlands. The on-going captive breeding and headstarting projects are also explained.

The exhibition will remain in Anadyr for two months and then be moved to Meinypyl’gyno for permanent display. All the schoolchildren in Anadyr will be given a guided tour before then to make them aware and proud of Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

The exhibition was supported by BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme, with funding provided by Heritage Expeditions and several other Species Champions. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has supported Birds Russia’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation programme through grants to BirdLife International. The captive breeding programme is run by Birds Russia, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, RSPB, and several other organisations.

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