Save the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper!
Concerned conservationists are mounting what could be a last-ditch rescue bid to save one of the world’s most endangered birds, the tiny spoon-billed sandpiper. Spoon-billed sandpipers are wading birds, living on the Russian Arctic coast during the summer and flying down as far as Bangladesh and Vietnam to winter. First described by botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the bird's most distinctive feature is its spoon-shaped bill. Adult birds have red-brown heads, neck and breasts with dark brown streaks. Fully grown, they reach about 14 to 16cm in length.
Conservationists believe that the population of these birds is declining by 25% year on year, meaning they could be extinct very shortly. Scientists blame the loss of their habitats, and the exhausting 8000km flight to their winter migration hubs, for this decline. With this in mind a conservation team has been sent to Russia’s Far East to attempt to spot the birds in the wild; if they are successful, they will attempt to start a captive breeding system with the eventual aim of releasing a much-boosted population back to the wild. Furthermore, if they manage to find any eggs, these will be placed in special incubation systems. This has never been tried with these birds before, but the conservation team says it is the sandpiper’s last chance.