The Eastern Curlew is the largest and one of the most threatened migratory shorebirds in the world. Found only in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), this coastal obligate bird's habitat continues to disappear along the flyway, which has resulted in a population decline of 80% in 30 years.
For almost six months of the year, over 70 per cent of the world’s Eastern Curlews call Australia home. It’s the last stop on their southward migration and where they build their energy and fat stores to prepare them for the migration back to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.
Growing demand for coast-side developments and the ever-increasing amount of human activity on our beaches has meant that, for Eastern Curlews, there is less and less undisturbed feeding and roosting habitat at the southernmost end of their migration journey. In theory, Moreton Bay should continue to remain a safe place for Eastern Curlews. Listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, it’s protected under this international treaty and Australian domestic law as one of the most important wetlands in the world.
Yet, it’s possible that the Australian Government could soon approve a marina and residential development within the Moreton Bay Ramsar site, destroying important habitat for Eastern Curlew.
BirdLife Australia supporters have been actively calling on the Queensland and Australian Governments to make the right decision and respect Ramsar, rather than sanction a development in a Ramsar-listed wetland. Approval for development will not only destroy important Eastern Curlew habitat, but it will also set a bad precedent for the future of Ramsar-listed sites.
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Photo credit: Duade Paton & Ian Wilson