The Corncrake (Crex crex) could once be found throughout the island of Ireland. Now, after decades of habitat degradation, these birds are only found in the West and North-West, in areas of Donegal, Mayo and Connemara.
In their sixth State of the Environment Report, released in November 2016, the EPA stated that, should current practices continue, the corncrake would soon become extinct.
In the past two years, despite government spending of over half a million euros, there has been a sharp decline in corncrake populations.
Last week, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs announced plans to develop a new management plan to conserve corncrake populations in the Falcarragh to Meenlaragh Special Protection Area in Donegal.
This management plan aims to create a comprehensive solution to the decline in corncrake numbers, which will not only benefit these birds, but also the local people.
According to Dr. Barry O’Donoghue of the the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS):
“This will ensure the area’s natural heritage is protected and enhanced as well as its cultural, social and linguistic heritage.”
Consultations will take place and a draft plan will be issued over the next few months, before the final publication is issued.