PARTRIDGE going global ahead of COP26
Earlier this September, Feature Story News' Tony Waterman interviewed a few PARTRIDGE colleagues as part of her biodiversity series ahead of the COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference) and COP15 (Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity). Toni became intrigued by PARTRIDGE and contacted Hubertus Vereniging Vlaanderen (HVV, the Flemish Hunting Association) to set up a TV interview, something we accepted with open arms as it offers a fantastic outreach opportunity for our project.
On a sunny but slightly windy Thursday afternoon, we gathered at the farm of Eric Cloet in the Flemish demonstration area Ramskapelle in Belgium. Eric is one of our most engaged farmers, as well as a hunter, and has been with us since the start of the project. Next to Eric, Toni wanted to interview Miel Cnuts, who is a wildlife ecologist and represents the Flemish hunters in the project, and Yasmine Verzelen, a biologist at the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), responsible for the monitoring of grey partridge and hare in all 20 study areas.
The interview started with a quick tour of Eric’s free-range poultry farm. Eric spoke so passionately about his chickens, we almost lost track of time! After Eric had shown us one of his vehicles as well, it was time to put on his hunter hat.
Just outside the farm, Eric showed us a floristically enhanced grass strip which serves as habitat for farmland birds and game species. His dogs always stayed close to their owner and had no problems with the presence of the camera in their backyard. Just behind us, a common kestrel was hovering above a grass margin, hunting. It was wonderful to see how much Eric enjoyed being filmed while talking about his two big passions: farming and hunting.
Eric Cloet talking about habitat measures on his farm in front of the camera in the company of his dogs (Photo: Miel Cnuts)
After that, it was time for Miel to explain the role of the hunters in PARTRIDGE. Eric’s hunting cabin with lots of roe deer antlers formed the ideal scene for this interview. Then we drove to meet two of Yasmine’s colleagues, Axel and Sander, who were doing partridge autumn counts in the study area. While scanning the fields for partridges, Yasmine talked about the monitoring and stated how difficult it can be to detect partridges due to their excellent camouflage.
Yasmine and her colleague Sander looking for partridges in the Ramskapelle demonstration area, Flanders (Photo: Miel Cnuts)
While walking in a field trying to find some partridges, a small covey of three suddenly flew up next to a small ditch. Luckily, the cameraman was able to catch some shots of the partridges, the icing on the cake of this wonderful afternoon of filming. The film broadcast on the global channels of CGTN can be viewed here.
Written by Miel Cnuts (HVV) and Yasmine Verzelen (INBO), Belgian PARTRIDGE project partners. Edited by Fiona Torrance and Francis Buner, The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK