Saving waterbirds in Barbados
Every year tens of thousands of Nearctic-nesting shorebirds stop over on Barbados on their southbound, fall migration to South America. 15,000-30,000 of these shorebirds are shot in a handful of managed shooting swamps. However, the tradition of hunting migratory shorebirds on Barbados is changing. The old culture of 'kill as many as you can' is being replaced by a conservation ethic among older and younger hunters alike. In fact, by maintaining their artificial wetlands year-round (instead of only during hunting season) hunters are playing an active part in the conservation of target and non-target shorebirds and other waterbirds.
BirdLife International has been working with two former hunters to secure the lease on a 10-acre abandoned shooting swamp at Woodbourne as a shorebird refuge. Now restored, thanks to huge local support, the refuge is a safe haven for thousands of waterbirds.
This is only the beginning! There are other abandoned shooting swamps that may be available for lease, and that could help form a strategic network of conservation wetlands in Barbados. This, in concert with a more responsible hunting ethic and setting bag limits on species of conservation concern, will help save migratory shorebirds (and resident waterbirds) in Barbados. Please help us raise funds to move this exciting program forward in 2010 and 2011.