WWT ask for volunteers to share the Bewick’s Swan story

The WWT at Welney tags and radio-tracks many of the Bewick's Swans which winter at the reserve, to help figure out the causes of the species' decline. Photo: WWT.
The WWT at Welney tags and radio-tracks many of the Bewick's Swans which winter at the reserve, to help figure out the causes of the species' decline. Photo: WWT.
Britain’s smallest and rarest swan is migrating to Welney Wetland Centre WWT and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust needs you to help them tell its incredible story.

As the WWT's Flight of the Swans conservation project continues to track Bewick’s Swans across international boundaries, the conservation organisation is looking for people to take part in this amazing story by volunteering at local WWT reserves.

The new project features courageous pilot Sacha Dench, who is currently flying a paramotor alongside the swans on a 4,350-mile journey from Arctic Russia to the wetlands of Britain.

Welney provides a winter home for many of the Bewick’s Swans which make the migration, meaning the Norfolk wetlands centre plays a vital role in supporting the endangered species. The aims of the project are to identify the causes of the dceline in Bewick’s Swan numbers, which fell from 29,000 in 1995 to 18,000 in 2010, to engage local communities in conserving the species and wetland habitats, and to bring together local and international conservation groups to find ways to halt the decline.

Chris Cavalier, WWT Volunteering Development Officer, said: "We won’t be asking volunteers to go up in a paramotor, but by supporting WWT they will have the chance to inspire visitors about the conservation work that the organisation carries out, from researching migration routes to helping endangered species such as Madagascar Pochard and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

"Welney attracts the highest number of Bewick’s Swans that overwinter in the UK, and we’re also hoping to attract new volunteers as interest in Sacha’s Flight of the Swans project reaches new heights.

"WWT is committed to raising awareness of the important role that wetlands play in today’s society, and in the wealth of species we have here in the UK. The support of volunteers is key to our work at home and abroad, and we welcome applications from people of all ages and from all walks of life."

Tony Winchester, Volunteer at WWT Welney, said: "The sensation of feeding hundreds of swans and ducks that have flown to Welney from all over the Continent is incredible and makes volunteering a joy.

"Helping people to connect with our amazing wildlife is so rewarding. From seeing families experience the flight in for the first time to seasoned enthusiasts looking out for the return of their favourite swans, the joy that these magical birds bring is truly wonderful."

Making the connection between people and wildlife with inspiring stories and amazing experiences is a vital element to the recovery of a declining species.

To get involved with volunteering opportunities at WWT Welney, you can go online to www.wwt.org.uk/support/volunteer-with-wwt, email via volunteer.welney@wwt.org.uk or call the reserve on 0208 4094460.
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