Major Wiltshire lapwing conservation project launched

By Barrie Hudson - 2 April 2024

Charity
  • (Picture: Darin Smith)

    (Picture: Darin Smith)

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) have begun a major conservation project.

  • (Picture: Gary Mantle)

    (Picture: Gary Mantle)

The aim is to locate, monitor and conserve the remaining breeding lapwing across Wiltshire chalk landscapes.
Project Peewit, taken from a local name for lapwing, will survey to find the remaining breeding lapwing and begin to work with landowners and farmers to improve the landscape for them.
Jonny Cooper, Biological Research Officer at WSBRC, said: “The lapwing is deeply ingrained within Wiltshire landscapes. 

"Understanding their current status and distribution and working alongside landowners is crucial to help us conserve and protect this precious bird.”
Across the UK, six out of every 10 lapwing have vanished since 1967. As a breeding species, lapwing have declined dramatically across Wiltshire. 
This iconic species is at serious risk of disappearing from across large swathes of our county. Research suggests that although adult lapwing are able to survive and return to breed, they are struggling to successfully raise chicks. This could be for a number of reasons; part of this vital work will be to help identify the issues affecting chick survival and look for solutions to mitigate them.
Project Peewit is described as the first step in changing the fortunes of Wiltshire’s breeding lapwing. The work this year will help locate key sites where lapwing remain and identify potential threats and problems they may face there. 
This information can then be used to form a long-term plan to conserve this wonderful bird species across Wiltshire landscapes.
The project has been made possible through partnerships with the North Wessex Downs and Cranborne Chase National Landscapes and is funded through the Government’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
Anyone can get involved with this project, and all are welcome to submit their sightings of lapwing from anywhere in Wiltshire at www.wsbrc.org/projects/project-peewit
 

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