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Birds Korea and the Australasian Waders Study Group

?latest report?

Birds Korea and the Australasian Waders Study Group (AWSG) have started preliminary investigation and on-site groundwork for the Joint Saemangeum Monitoring Programme (for more details please see http://www.birdskorea.org/timetoact.asp Nial Moores, Dr. Phil Battley, and John Geale have been at Saemangeum since the evening of the 30th March. They report the following:

* Tides are still flowing into the Saemangeum area. There is therefore still a large gap in the seawall - but developers are claiming that the Saemangeum seawall will be completed on April 24th 2006 ie in just three weeks time. We need to do all that we can to raise the interest of international media and register international disgust (eg mailing Korean embassies).

* Bird numbers are in the meantime building well, including ca 1300 Far Eastern Curlew, 1800 Great Knot and 11 000 Dunlin in Dongjin yesterday (April 1st).

* Progress is being made in organising events and workshops to involve more people and raise awareness (domestically and internationally) of both Saemangeum and of the need for focused monitoring of this reclamation project to fully gauge its impact on the shorebirds that stage here.* The characterisation of the Programme by a very few people as unnecessary interference in domestic issues by a non-Korean group (ie Birds Korea) has happily opened up good opportunities for us to prove that we are - as we have always said - a domestic (Korean-based) group, one with a strong international outreach (eg AWSG) but also one seeking cooperation where we can with key individuals and organisations within Korea. (Birds Korea already has around 200 fee-paying domestic members, as well as 400 international members overseas, and in the past week we have been joined by 25 new members (Korean nationals), with 2 further members re-confirming membership for the year ahead.)

* Donations which we received for the Programme are now being used for vehicle rental and to fund other logistical support. Again we would like to thank very much all those who donated to the Programme, and would like to remind everyone that more support would still be very welcome!

* Internet access in the immediate area is a little limited but we will be posting details of shorebird counts etc as often as we possibly can: please check the website for updates at http://www.birdskorea.org/birds_latest.asp.A huge amount of work has gone into evolving this project over the last six months, and we are confident that the data we will obtain here will be internationally significant and of long-term value. One aim is of course to show the terrible impact on shorebirds of this catastrophic and redundant form of habitat destruction - and in doing so we will be in a much stronger position to react should another reclamation in Korea ever be announced.

Nial and Charlie Moores, Park Meena, Kim SuKyung
Birds Korea: The national and international network dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats.
http://www.birdskorea.org birdskorea@aol.com

4th July 2014