The British Birdwatching Fair has once again delivered a huge boost to the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme with the presentation of cheque for £265,000 ($380,000) from the proceeds of the 2008 fair. This is the largest sum raised by the fair in its 20-year history and it represents a £39,000 ($56,000) increase on the sum raised in 2007.
Birdfair organisers Martin Davies and Tim Appleton presented a cheque to Dr Mike Rands – the Chief Executive of BirdLife International – at a ceremony that took place at The Lodge, the headquarters of the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).
“Not only is it incredible that the Birdfair continues to break records, but its ability to persuade and encourage others to become part of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme as Species Champions, marks a new departure in BirdLife International’s fundraising”, said Dr Rands.
At the event, Martin Davies of the RSPB announced that the theme of the 2009 Birdfair would be ‘Lost and Found’, with proceeds once again going to the Preventing Extinctions Programme. Of the 190 species classified as Critically Endangered, 45 have no known population and require intensive searches to establish whether they still exist. The 2009 Birdfair aims to raise the profile of these ‘Lost species’ and to fund expeditions to find them.
“Preventing the extinction of species is a test of whether we are delivering conservation” —Martin Davies, Co-organiser of the British Birdwatching Fair
“Preventing the extinction of species is a test of whether we are delivering conservation. As the extinction crisis continues to grow it is fantastic to note that British birdwatchers are continuing to square up to the challenge – we hope we can rely on even more support in future years”, said Martin Davies
Tim Appleton, of the Leicestershire and Wildlife Trust, said: “During the British Birdwatching Fair’s 20-year history, we are delighted to have raised more than £2million ($3 million) for conservation of the world’s most threatened birds and places, from albatrosses in the Southern Ocean to rainforest birds of the Amazon.”
The flagship bird for the 2009 event will be Cebu Flowerpecker Dicaeum quadricolor, an example of a lost species that has only recently been rediscovered. This species is endemic to the island of Cebu, in the Philippines, and was feared extinct for much of the 20th Century. In 1992, it was rediscovered in forest fragments, but it remains Critically Endangered.
The British Birdwatching Fair is already helping a suite of Critically Endangered species across the globe with the proceeds from the 2007 event. Examples of these include Belding’s Yellowthroat Geothlypis beldingi in Mexico and Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei on the remote African island of São Tomé.
Twenty-thousand birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts visited the 2008 Birdfair which is a three-day event held at Rutland Water each August, and which is jointly promoted by the RSPB and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
In response to the threat to so many bird species, BirdLife has launched the Preventing Extinctions Programme. This is spearheading greater conservation action, awareness and funding support for all of the world’s most threatened birds, starting with the 190 species classified as Critically Endangered, the highest level of threat.
This news is brought to you by the BirdLife Species Champions and the British Birdwatching Fair – official sponsor of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme