A small population of one of the world's most threatened birds has recently arrived in the UK in an effort to try and save the species. The Spoon-Billed Sandpiper is a small species of wading bird that is natively found in Russia, migrating south into South-East Asia for the winter.
Their uniquely adapted shovel-like beaks are used to sieve small preyanimals out of the mud, but they have a naturally small breeding range that is restricted to the north-east of Russia and is an area that is subjected to increasing levels of development which has severely affected population numbers.
The Spoon-Billed Sandpiper is listed as being a Critically Endangered species by the IUCN as there are thought to be just 100 breeding pairs left in the wild, that are not only subjected to habitat loss in much of their natural range, but they are also hunted (particularly the young) which has led to an ageing current population.
In order to try and save the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper from imminent extinction in it's natural environment, conservationists have brought thirteen young birds to the UK which will be taken to a reserve in Gloucestershire that is run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).
Hoping to eventually establish a small population of ten breeding pairs before they are released back into the wild, conservationists are so far happy with how the birds are developing. However, if nothing continues to be done to save the loss of their habitats along their 8,000km migration route, the species will only continue to struggle in the wild.