Protect Threatened National Bird from Harmful Airport

Target: Nelson de Souza, Minister of Planning, Portugal

Goal: Stop construction of airport that would harm Dutch national bird.

Efforts to preserve the near threatened black-tailed godwit, the national bird of the Netherlands, could soon be undermined by the construction of an airport in Montijo, Portugal. This airport, which would be situated at the mouth of the Tagus River, would lie directly in the path of the birds’ annual migration route to Africa, placing them in harm’s way from pollution, fumes, and aircraft collisions.

Chosen as the national bird by referendum in 2015, the godwit has had great cultural importance in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages. But that importance has been tinged with worry over the past 15 years, during which their numbers have fallen by 25% as part a trend ongoing since the 1970s. Despite successful conservation efforts in Iceland and the United Kingdom, Dutch godwits are under threat from human activity including industry and real estate development. These activities destroy habitats and food sources, with the Montijo airport representing the latest and most significant threat to date.

Pleas to save the birds have fallen on deaf ears in the Portuguese government so far. Sign the petition below to add your voice in calling for the preservation of this unique and beautiful animal.


Dear Mr. de Souza,

Plans for the construction of a new airport at Montijo, Portugal would threaten the Dutch black-tailed godwit, whose population has been declining steadily for years. Despite protests from the Netherlands and concerned citizens across the globe, your government has taken no action to protect them.

I demand that you reconsider the placement of this airport. Failure to do so would further endanger a threatened and irreplaceable species.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bart van Dorp


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