Photo Credit: WWTAnimals United Kingdom
Nature Reserve Helps Protect These Wild Swans
Protecting wetlands across the United Kingdom has proven to help the whooper swan since the wild bird has a better chance of surviving in nature reserves, so much so that its population is expected to double by the end of the decade.
“The big message is that nature reserves can operate as very good protectors of wildlife,” says Stuart Bearhop of the University of Exeter, co-author of the study. “If we could get 30% of the world protected – and protected in the right way – we are going absolutely in the right direction.”
Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Helsinki analyzed 30 years’ worth of data on more than 10,000 wild swans to draw their conclusion. The whooper swan leaves Iceland and overwinters between October and March in Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England, and East Anglia. The survival rate of the wild bird known for its trumpet-like call is higher in nature reserves in low-lying coastal areas such as the Welney Wetland Centre in Norfolk, the Martin Mere Wetland Centre in Lancashire, and the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve in southwest Scotland – where special protection is offered to wild swans. Fencing out foxes and other predators, avoiding farming methods that disturb the land, and sighting the reserves away from hazards – including power lines – have proven beneficial to the bird. Its population is expected to double by 2030, which is a piece of positive news in the efforts to reverse biodiversity loss.