Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF) 2024: New Partnerships to Protect Asian Flyways

The following article was provided by Nemo Zheng from WWF-Hong Kong. Minor revisions have been applied to the original article to improve clarity and align it with the guidelines established by the EAAFP.

WWF-Hong Kong is pleased to announce the successful application results for the Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF), with three projects selected by the AWCF Committee. The Asian Flyways Initiative Grant (AFI Grant) of the AWCF will support conservation efforts at the newly designated Flyway Network Sites (FNS) in Myanmar, as well as a comprehensive study on migratory waterbirds in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. Additionally, the Dr. Lew Young Grant under the AWCF will support a community conservation project in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

About the Projects

1. Engaging Local Communities in the Management of Wetland Conservation in Pyu Lake and Paleik Lake in Central Myanmar

Pyu Lake and Paleik Lake in Myanmar were designated as Flyway Network Sites (FNS) in 2023. These lakes, situated in the dry zone of Central Myanmar, are crucial habitats for waterbirds but face threats from pollution, unsustainable fishing, and hunting. The Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) will collaborate with local organizations to conserve these wetlands, conduct regular waterbird surveys, and promote the wise use of wetlands through community engagement and education. Additionally, a community-based wetland conservation management plan for Pyu Lake and Paleik Lake will be developed in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Ferruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca) and the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri) in Paleik Lake (Photo credit: Thiri Dae We Aung)

2. Migratory Bird Survey, Habitat Assessment, and Education for Conservation Bioacoustics in the Mampie, West Sulawesi, Indonesia

In western Sulawesi of Indonesia, researchers from the University of West Sulawesi will conduct a comprehensive study on migratory waterbirds using bioacoustics. The study aims to understand the ecological dynamics and challenges faced by these waterbirds and to inform future conservation planning. Additionally, the team will organise educational programmes to raise awareness among local communities. By integrating scientific research with community engagement, the project strives to contribute to the conservation efforts for migratory waterbirds in this ecologically significant yet relatively understudied region.

A group of Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus) flying over a fishpond (Photo credit: Alexander Kurniawan Sariyanto Putera)

3. Sustaining Flight: A Comprehensive Approach to Migratory Shorebird Conservation in Batu Bara Coastline, North Sumatra, Indonesia

The Batu Bara Coastline in Sumatra, Indonesia, was identified as a hotspot for shorebirds during surveys initiated in 2018. Extending over 50 km and encompassing nine villages, this area supports around 40,000 wintering shorebirds, including several globally threatened species. In 2022, the Wild Heritage of Sumatra (WHIS) Foundation made significant progress by establishing village regulations for shorebird protection in four key villages along the coastline. In this project, WHIS will focus on implementing these regulations, continue monitoring shorebirds, and organize educational activities to engage local communities and university students in conservation efforts.

The project site features an expansive mangrove forest and a vast intertidal mudflat, providing critical habitats for shorebirds. (Photo credit: Chairunas Adha Putra)

Large flock of migratory shorebirds in Batu Bara (Photo credit: Chairunas Adha Putra)

The AWCF is fortunate to have received a high number of quality applications for the current funding cycle. The AWCF Committee has worked diligently to carefully evaluate each submission. The AWCF Secretariat would like to express its sincere gratitude to the members of the AWCF Committee: Mr. Simba Chan, Mr. Spike Millington, Mr. Doug Watkins, Dr. Philip Round, and Prof. Guangchun Lei. Their generous contributions of expertise and time have been invaluable to the review process. Click here to learn more about Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF).

Under WWF’s Freshwater Practice, the initiative Wetlands for Asian Flyways (WAF), previously known as the Asian Flyways Initiative, involves countries within the East Asian–Australasian Flyway and the Central Asian Flyway. It aims to conserve networks of wetlands that benefit local communities and ensure the long-term survival of migratory bird populations. Click here to learn more about WAF.

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