Minister John Gormley to see first-hand, Louth’s conservation at work.
This Friday (17th July) at 2pm, the county’s conservation group, Louth Nature Trust will welcome the Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, John Gormley TD, to the Little Tern Conservation Project at Baltray, Co Louth. The Minister has accepted an invitation from the group to see and experience first hand this extremely successful conservation project which has been made possible by a massive local volunteer effort and by the support of his department.
The Little Tern bird is an Annex 1 protected species and in this country, its numbers have dwindled in recent years. Over a 10 year period from 1997 to 2006, the species failed to successfully fledge a single chick at Baltray beach. Similar stories are told around the country. Ironically the Haven at Baltray provides a perfect nesting ground for the birds with its shingle beach and its proximity to the fresh water of the river Boyne.
The Louth Nature Trust successfully assisted in 41 chicks fledging in 2007 and 29 chicks fledged last year. While there are still many unknowns and there is no guaranteeing the final outcome, the trust is hopeful that in excess of 80 chicks and possibly over 100 chicks will fledge.This has the potential to be an all time record for the county and with 89 chicks already hatched and 13 eggs yet to hatch, things are looking very promising. However, there are still many factors threatening such a success for this precious species.
The fencing erected on the beach, through NPWS funding deters walkers, dogs, foxes and other ground predators from threatening the vulnerable eggs or chicks on the beachfront. Around the clock, 24 hours a day, Louth Nature Trust volunteer wardens along with their employed wardens (funded by the Heritage Council) ward off attacks from above - crows, gulls and others, to the best of their ability. Unfortunately the elements cannot be controlled and spring tides coupled with stormy weather can have a devastating affect.
The Louth Nature Trust is a voluntary, non-profit organisation which was established in February 2008. It is a conservation group formed to protect the county's natural resources and to aid in promoting awareness of, and interest in the landscape, wildlife, flora and fauna of Co. Louth.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the project can contact Louth Nature Trust on 086 2434874 or if you’d just like to follow the success of this years project look out for the regularly updated blog on the group’s website; www.louthnaturetrust.org