International action plan for

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* Iraq 


3 records, 1917–1979 (max. 6 birds). 

Probably greatly under-recorded; the marshes of Iraq have never been fully surveyed for birds, 

yet they are (or were) the largest area of freshwater marsh in the western Palearctic. Efforts were 

made by BirdLife International to carry out joint surveys in 1988–1989; although an invitation 

was received from Baghdad, it was almost immediately postponed. Subsequent developments 

have unfortunately made the prospect of any surveys in the near future remote. No specific 

conservation measures for the Slender-billed Curlew are known; meanwhile the destruction of 

the marshes continues apace (see above, under habitat loss). 


* Italy 


76 records, 1900–1993 (max. 7 birds), plus 6 unconfirmed records. In winter 1994-1995 

a flock of up to 20 birds was recorded. 


sites: Viareggio area, Golfo di Manfredonia (part SPA); Valli di 

Comacchio/Ravenna coast (part SPA); Circeo National Park (SPA); Laguna di 

Orbetello/Maremma National Park (both SPAs). 

Curlews are not listed as legal quarry species, and are thus to be considered protected. 

Legislation is nevertheless needed for their strict protection, with substantial penalties applicable; 

this would best be achieved by including the species on the special protection list. Black-tailed 

Godwit was removed from the quarry list in 1991–1992, but is now listed again. During 1994 

there was considerable confusion concerning hunting proposals (N. Baccetti in litt.). On the one 

hand there was a proposal (a circular from the Minister of Agriculture, no. 16, 15/7/94) to again 

remove Black-tailed Godwit from the list of quarry species, specifically in order to avoid 

confusion with Slender-billed Curlew. On the other hand some hunting organisations proposed 

the addition of Eurasian Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica to the list of quarry 

species; the first proposal in June 1994 was stopped following intervention by LIPU. 


There are 1.5 million registered hunters, with much uncontrolled hunting occurring next to (and 

even within) protected areas. Italy (Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica, INFS) took a full 

part in the BirdLife International project and the recent ACNAT project. A workshop was held 

on the species at Arosio on 27–29 March 1992, and produced a declaration for intended 

circulation among hunting organisations. 


Discussions between LIPU and government representatives on the preparation of a national 

action plan for the Slender-billed Curlew have already begun in view of the possible return of the 

flock observed in 1994-95.  This flock mainly frequented wetlands in the Golfo de Manfredonia 

which are formally protected, but which are regularly shot over. 


* Kazakhstan 


4 records, 1921–1991 (max. 3 birds), plus 31 records, inc. 17 summering, mapped in 

Gavrin et al. (1962). 

The Slender-billed Curlew is included in the Kazakhstan Red Data Book, and is thus presumably 

protected, but the exact situation is not known. No other specific conservation measures are 

known to date. 




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* Morocco 


53 records, 1939–1994 (max. 500–800 birds), plus 3 unconfirmed records. 


site: Merja Zerga. 

All curlew species are protected, but not godwits; prior to 1990 all curlews, including Slender-

billed, were listed as quarry species. In 1979 there were 50,000 hunters, with the number rising 

annually, plus visiting hunters (Bergier 1987). Hunting has been permitted at Merja Mellah, in 

the northern part of the Merja Zerga Biological Reserve (poaching also occurs elsewhere in the 

reserve). In December 1989 one of the three Slender-billed Curlews was shot and wounded near 

Merja Mellah, adding considerable pressure to the calls for hunting to be banned from the whole 

area (this is expected to occur before the end of 1994: Eaux et Forêts staff, verbally). 


The species has occurred widely along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, but the areas in the south, 

such as Khnifiss, were rarely monitored until recently. A considerable amount of work has been 

put into surveys and research on the species. BirdLife International supported work in the 

1987/88 winter (van den Berg 1988), and made visits to Merja Zerga in January 1989 and 1990 

(Gretton 1991). Peace Corps volunteers, notably H. Cooper, also made observations during this 

winter. Several surveys were carried out in the 1993/94 winter, under the ACNAT project 

(Agbani and Dakki, Franchimont, in European Commission 1994). 


* Romania 


16 records, 1966–1989 (max. 30 birds). 


site: Danube delta. 

The Berne Convention entered into force in 1993 following ratification by Romania, but there is 

no implementing law and the Slender-billed Curlew is not protected by specific legislation.  

Other species of large wader remain legal quarry (open season mid–August to mid–March). 

There is apparently little interest in shooting waders, however, among the 60,000 hunters in 

Romania. In 1989 the fine for shooting a curlew out of season was about £5. All records of the 

species but one have been from the Danube delta, particularly the saltmarsh areas at Istria and 

Razelm-Sinoie. Since 1989 the conservation prospects of the delta have improved dramatically, 

with several agencies now involved in protecting and managing the delta, which is now a 

Biosphere Reserve. 


* Russia 


9 records, 1908–1991 (max. 3 birds), plus Ushakov's records near Tara. 

The species was included in the U.S.S.R. Red Data Book and is included in the Russian Red 

Data Book. It is in theory therefore protected, but in some areas this seems to apply only during 

the breeding season. New hunting laws are being prepared at present. Members of the Russian 

Federation are also free to introduce their own laws. Other curlews and godwits are legal quarry. 


Searches for the breeding grounds were carried out annually during 1989–1995 by A. K. Yurlov, 

in cooperation with BirdLife International and the Dutch Government (G. Boere, Ministry of 

Agriculture). Searches were also carried out near Barnaul (Chupin et al. 1994) and Chelyabinsk. 

This work will continue until at least 1996, under an agreement of cooperation signed in 1994 

(see introduction above). 

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