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The World Land Trust eBulletin Issue 15, February 2004

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In this issue:
Ecuador update: Orchid discoveries make Tapichalaca reserve a site of special scientific importance
Patagonia update: La Esperanza gains Wildlife Refuge status
India update: WLT able to send first funds to save the Indian elephant
Endangered fauna of the Arabian peninsula
Valentines Day Acres a great success

Ecuador update: Orchid discoveries make Tapichalaca reserve a site of special scientific importance 

Ecuador orchid
Orchids recently found on Fundación Jocototo's reserves include the genera Masdevallia, Maxillaria, Lepanthes, Odontoglossum, and Lycaste.
(Report from Fundación Jocotoco) The next edition of the Plant Red Data Book of Ecuador, published 2005, will include Cerro Tapichalaca as a site of special importance because of recent orchid discoveries there.

In February, experts attending an international Orchid Conference in Quito, looked at recent orchid discoveries found in the WLT/Fundación Jocotoco reserves on Cerro Tapichalaca. In early January, orchid expert Lou Jost continued his survey work and Nigel Simpson (Fundación Jocotoco and WLT trustee) and colleagues photographed new orchid species in Tapichalaca and the Christopher Parsons Rainforest. In the opinion of the experts, it is possible that ten of these may be, as yet, undescribed.

In the whole of Ecuador some 4,500 species of orchids have already been recorded but the fact that new orchids are being discovered in the Fundación Jocotoco cloud forests demonstrates both the importance of the reserves and also how little studied the biodiversity of the cloud forests is. With Lou Jost looking at the orchids on the reserves we feel pretty confident that these new discoveries are merely the tip of a botanical iceberg.

As WLT raises more funds to protect more of the wonderful Ecuadorian rainforests we are able to demonstrate to supporters that individuals really can make a difference in saving endangered and even unknown species.

Read more about the project in Ecuador

Make a donation to the Ecuador project

Patagonia update: La Esperanza given Wildlife Refuge status 

Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) on La Esperanza.
This juvenile Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) was rescued after being abandoned by her herd. Named Princesa (Princess) she now lives on the ranch where she is being cared for by volunteers.
(Report from Fundación Patagonia Natural) Estancia la Esperanza in southern Argentina has been given Wildlife Refuge status by the Provincial Government of Chubut.

Estancia la Esperanza (Ranch of Hope), WLT's project area in Patagonia, has been elevated to a site of national importance within Patagonia, by being given the status of a Wildlife Refuge at the end of 2003. One of the reasons WLT became involved in land purchase on the coastal steppe of Patagonia was because very little of this important habitat is protected. Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN), WLT’s local partners, have initiated a Landscape and Biodiversity Survey which is being undertaken by volunteers on the ranch, and recognition of this ground breaking research is further proof of the site's biological value.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), rescued and cared for at La Esperanza
A rescued juvenile Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is being cared for until it is fully grown, when it will be released back into the wild.

As well as protecting and surveying the huge diversity of wildlife on the ranch, Fundación Patagonia Natural staff and volunteers are also increasingly involved in wildlife rescues and rehabilitation. Emma Page, who worked as a project development intern in the WLT Office until Christmas, has recently spent time as a volunteer on the Estancia where she has been able to assist in the care of a juvenile Guanaco, a young Burrowing Owl, a Patagonian weasel, a Red-backed hawk and an Upland Goose.

Read more about the project in Patagonia

Make a donation to the Patagonia project

India update: WLT able to send first funds to save the Indian elephant 

Supporters of the Trust's latest project have made possible the first transfer of funds to WLT's partners Wildlife Trust of India, to save an elephant corridor in the Garo Hills in NE India.

We hear a lot about the plight of the African Elephant but Indian Elephant populations are also critically endangered. The Wild Lands Elephant Corridor project addresses the problem of forest fragmentation which is a serious threat to the elephant’s survival. The corridor will link together the Siju Wildlife Sanctuary and the Rewak Reserve Forest in Meghalaya State, enabling wildlife to move freely between the two reserves. Please help us empower local families to protect this vital elephant corridor.

Read more about the project in India

Make a donation to the Elephant Corridor project

Endangered fauna of the Arabian peninsula

At the end of February John Burton, CEO of the WLT, was asked to visit Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to assist with a workshop on the Endangered Fauna of the Arabian Peninsula. The workshops were held at the Breeding Centre for Arabian wildlife – one of the finest collections of its type in the world. Because of previous extensive experience with captive European Brown Hares, John took part in the workshops on the Hyrax and Desert Hare, which while neither are considered endangered, are threatened mostly by overhunting. The Desert Hare is classified as Lepus capensis (the African Hare), but is tiny with huge ears, and may well prove to be a quite distinct species.

Read more about the Desert Hare in John's Green Issues weblog

Breading Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife

Valentines Day Acres a great success...

Our suggestion that One Acre of threatened habitat would make your valentine sit up and take notice really did work. This year we asked would-be Romeo and Juliets to forget the red roses which would wilt and die within a few days but instead save an acre of tropical forest full of wonderful orchids. Once again we were inundated with donations on behalf of loved ones – many of whom wished to remain anonymous. Not surprisingly several Valentine recipients have telephoned our office to ask who sent them such an amazing present – of course we have kept names strictly confidential so they are probably still trying to guess!

...and Easter is looming

World Land Trust Gift Acres make excellent Easter presents too – particularly as we will be offering our supporters a free bar of Green & Black's Organic Maya Gold chocolate with every acre saved. But more about this in the next issue of the eBulletin...
The World Land Trust is a UK based conservation charity no.1001291 concerned with the protection of threatened habitats world wide.
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