Conservation Breeding Officer

jodie.clements@wwt.org.uk

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About me

For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by birds, eggs and incubators thanks to my father and his hobbies! From tiny quails to boisterous peacocks, and almost every sized domestic bird in-between (much to the disapproval of my lovely mother!). Also inheriting his love of wildlife, and managing to combine the two interests often, really set me on the path of avian conservation. I’ve been lucky in seeking other like-minded people throughout my life whose passions only influenced me further, I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to get where I am today.

Work

As a conservation breeding officer my work takes place behind the scenes, mostly caring for a safe-guard population of the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper seeing to their day to day and seasonal needs. This population was established in 2011 to 2012 when only 120-200 pairs were thought to be left in the wild. The rate of decline was estimated at 26% a year, meaning without immediate action they could have been extinct by 2019. Fledglings and eggs were brought 5000 miles from the breeding grounds in the Russian far-East to WWT Slimbridge as insurance against complete extinction. When not tending to the birds, I’m working with colleagues in the UK and across the globe towards a more stable future for this charismatic little bird. My current focus is on headstarting this species in the breeding grounds with our partner, Birds Russia. Here we take clutches of eggs from the wild to artificially incubate and rear the subsequent chicks until they are fully independent and ready for release, all in just a few weeks between June and July. Our rate of success is almost 3 times higher than that of the parent birds, thus giving these chicks a headstart in life. The current rate of decline estimated to be around 9% a year, and although we have bought some time for this species there is still much work to be done to pull them back from the brink.

Skills

  • Conservation/captive breeding avian species
  • rtificial incubation and rearing avian species
  • Headstarting techniques, including egg and chick translocation
  • Avian surveying and monitoring in the field
  • bservational and scientific drawing