The important stopover site of the Sociable Lapwing benefits from additional protection

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For years, the UzSPB has been fighting hard to strengthen the protection of this bird species as well as the Talimarzhan Reservoir, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Conservation Area (IBA) in the southeast of the country. . In 2021, victory: a brand new protected area will make life a little easier for the Sociable Lapwings.

“Uzbekistan is renowned for its hospitality and respect for its guests. For UzSPB, the critically endangered sociable lapwing is a VIP guest in the Kashkadarya area at the Talimarzhan Reservoir.

– Oleg Kashkarov, UzSPB –

During this two-year project, UzSPB developed and tested the first-ever monitoring program for Sociable Lapwing at the Talimarzhan Species Stopover Reservoir in Uzbekistan. This project adds to many years of work to protect and restore the population of the globally threatened Sociable Lapwing, supported by Swarovski Optik KG and the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions programme.

The program included daily counts in the coastal area of ​​Talimarzhan and road counts east of the reservoir with a length of 33-55 km each. Monitoring allowed UzSPB to collect data on the number, distribution and threats of Sociable Lapwing at the migratory stopover site.

At the peak of species migration in the fall of 2020 and 2021, the project team recorded over 4,200 sociable lapwings in the reservoir. This is equivalent to 26% of its global population, and makes the Talimarzhan Reservoir the most important stopover site in Central Asia and one of the most important in the world for this rare species.

However, monitoring has shown that at the same time thousands of sheep and goats are present along the shoreline of the reservoir, causing uncontrolled overgrazing in the areas most favorable to birds. Disturbance caused by uncontrolled movement of grazing animals, deteriorated quality of habitat, as well as abandoned fishing nets in places of concentration of this species were recorded as obvious threats to the species in Talimarzhan.

The evidence from the Sociable Lapwing monitoring program in 2020-2021 and the habitat assessment for the species could not have been clearer: the Talimarzhan Reservoir needed to urgently initiate conservation actions if we are to May this species thrive.

After talking with the local administration and receiving scientific evidence, the UzSPB and the Sociable Lapwing keepers successfully presented the Species Action Plan for the Sociable Lapwing in Talimarzha at the hokim table, or the mayor. The action plan will contribute to reducing disturbances and improving the conditions of the feeding and resting places of the species in the coastal zone of the wetland, to introduce control over the grazing and watering of livestock during migration autumn of the species, to carry out regular monitoring and to raise awareness of the species and the conservation of the site.

In December 2021, the new 4,142ha protected area of ​​Talimarzhan Sanctuary opened its natural gates.

“Now local people and the administration along the shore of the reservoir are taking good care of this species. In Talimarzhan, the lack of official protection for this rare bird is just a bad memory.

– Oleg Kashkarov, UzSPB –

“The work done by our colleagues in Uzbekistan is an indicator of a systematic and comprehensive effort for the conservation of this rare bird. For the members and participants of our international working group, this is a significant result”, concludes Ruslan Urazaliyev, coordinator of the Sociable Lapwing project of the ACBK, a Kazakh partner of BirdLife.

Thanks to the work of the UzSPB, the future of the Sociable Lapwing now looks a little brighter.

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