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Irish wildfowlers donate €25k for habitat restoration

The €25,000 will go towards restoring important bird habitats.

Ireland’s largest voluntary game shooting and conservation organisation donated €25,000 towards several important habitat restoration projects at the Waterfowlers’ Network AGM held in Wexford last week. 

A key recipient of the money donated by the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) was the Finnish SOTKA-project (News, 14 February), whose objective is to rehabilitate 400 hectares of crucial brood habitat by rewetting bogs in the waterfowl breeding regions of Finland and Scandinavia. These areas are essential breeding grounds for Ireland’s migratory waterfowl. 

Species such as wigeon and teal, which migrate to Ireland during the winter months, will greatly benefit from the enhanced productivity of their breeding grounds facilitated by the restoration projects. 

John Butler, chairman of NARGC, emphasised the collaborative nature of initiatives such as the SOTKA-project, which illustrate how hunters and wildlife agencies can cooperate to benefit species conservation. 

NARGC also noted that Minister for State Malcolm Noonan and the National Parks & Wildlife Service had been given substantial additional funding in the last budget. It called on Mr Noonan to match the €25,000 to advance the projects on the breeding grounds of waterfowl. 

Mr Butler asserted it was “an opportunity for this Green Party minister to show his commitment to real migratory duck conservation”.