Birdwatch News Archive
Spoon-billed Sandpiper, seen here at Pak Thale wetlands, Ban Laem, Phetchaburi, Thailand, will feature in a new documentary issued by the WWT. Photo: JJ Harrison (commons.wikimedia.org).
Spoonies become film stars
Posted on: 19 Aug 2012
As Birdfair winds down for another year, the Endangered Asian flyway wader Spoon-billed Sandpiper is to become the star of its own documentary film.
Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper shows the highs and lows of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's pioneering conservation project, in which they are captive breeding the odd-looking and unique shorebird, which is rapidly heading towards extinction.
Shot guerrilla-style in the field by its human stars, Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper brings real-life human drama to the nature documentary format. The film features stunning footage of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, as a handful of the last remaining pairs attempt to breed in the fleeting Arctic summer. But the story veers from the standard natural history format as we follow two of the team, WWT’s Nigel Jarrett and Martin McGill, from Britain to the Russian wilderness and see them push themselves to the limit to achieve what might seem a quixotic if not impossible task.
The intrepid two are part of an international team brought together to save this most unusual and elusive bird from almost certain extinction. Weather and wildlife conspire to prevent their efforts, but the pair relies on ingenuity, determination and each other to see them through weeks of sleep deprivation, caring for 17 of the world’s rarest young animals in extreme conditions.
The film’s producer, Sacha Dench, said: “By showing the lows as well as the highs, the gut-wrenching decisions and the near calamities, we hope people will see conservation in the raw. It’s certainly not glamorous, but it is gripping. The guys are everyday heroes. They have ended up doing this extraordinary job, but we see the stress and strain of 10 weeks spent away from their young families, which shows they’re no different from the rest of us; they just followed their hearts into a career in conservation.
“It would be wonderful if their story gives encouragement to any young people that, if they want to, they can get into conservation.”
The film, which is 60 minutes long, was released on DVD on Friday 17 August to coincide with Birdfair, and is available to buy at www.wwt.org.uk/shop or in shops at WWT centres www.wwt.org.uk/visit priced £9.99.
2 3 4 >