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The World Land Trust eBulletin Issue 23, November 2004

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In this issue:
BBC TV Obtains Rare Footage in Patagonia
Following in the Footsteps of The Jungle Book
Top Marks for Focus on Forests
WLT News in Brief
Making Christmas Wildlife Friendly

BBC TV Obtains Rare Footage in Patagonia 

Seal pup escaping killer whale is caught on camera.

Killer Whale catching a seal pup
This footage of a killer whale catching a seal pup was taken when David Bellamy visited Patagonia a few years ago.

On January 30th 2005 Bill Oddie will be presenting a BBC TV special on the wildlife of Patagonia. Filming took place in October, and the World Land Trust was privileged to host Bill and the BBC TV film crew, and show them some of the wildlife found on the Ranch of Hopes (Estancia La Esperanza) – WLT's nature reserve and wildlife refuge. The WLT’s local partners, the Fundación Patagonia Natural, together with Causana, a local Travel company, made all the arrangements for visiting the ranch and surrounding area, and John Burton, CEO of the Trust, accompanied Bill and the crew.

Guanaco drawing by Emma Page
Portrait of a guanaco (wild llama) by former WLT intern Emma Page, who visited Patagonia earlier this year.

Bill’s visit was an overwhelming success, and some stunning interactions with wildlife were captured on video. After visiting the the Ranch of Hopes, Bill was walking along the seashore on the Valdes Peninsula, and said that much as he would like to see the famous killer whales hunting, he really didn't like the idea of watching a seal pup being killed. The killer whales are only rarely seen beaching and taking seal pups, but minutes later, quite unexpectedly it happened. And while Bill was watching it, the pup managed to escape, apparently unharmed and scamper up the beach and out of harm’s way. So Bill was very happy.

Bill was able to see first hand the conservation issues of the region – and while the film is not specifically about those issues, as a long-term committed supporter of the World Land Trust Bill was particularly keen to see where the funds went. Guanacos were abundant and tame, and the footprints of Geoffroy’s Cat were frequently encountered, he saw Burrowing Parrots and much else. And the numbers of Mara (Patagonian Hare) encountered were the highest since the Fundación Patagonia Natural took over the management of the reserve.

The World Land Trust needs to continue to raise funds to support the wardening of the reserve, to pay for the maintenance and repair of the buildings, as well as invest in the renovation of the accommodation, so that in the long term it will be self sustaining, generating enough income from visitors to pay for the upkeep of the reserve.

Make a donation to the Patagonia Project here

Read more about John's visit to Patagonia in his 'Green Issues' blog

Following in the Footsteps of The Jungle Book

WLT visits Garo Hills, the location of short story Toomai of the Elephants.

Kirsty with elephant
Kirsty with an orphaned elephant in the Garo Hills.

Just after John's visit to Patagonia, Kirsty Burgess, WLT's Project Co-ordinator, travelled to India to the Trust's most recent project: The Wild Lands Elephant Corridor, which aims to connect two nature reserves via a forest corridor for the endangered Indian Elephant. The project location is the Garo Hills – the very same area described in the short story Toomai of the Elephants, from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

During Kirsty's visit to the corridor, she was able to appreciate just how appropriate the name “Wild Lands” is to the corridor location – it took more than a day to drive from the nearest airport. But it was worth it, Kirsty says. "The Garo Hills are incredibly picturesque and there is hot steaming jungle as far as the eye can see."

Walking through the corridor site, Kirsty was able to see first hand the damage that is being caused by “slash-and-burn” farming, but also how local people depend on this type of agriculture for survival. The projects involves the Arthika Village, a community who WLT partner Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) plan to assist in developing sustainable incomes. Although the Garo Hills currently boasts a wealth of forest resources, now is the time to put such initiatives into practice – before the inevitable population growth causes irreversible habitat loss.

To save India's endangered elephants your help is still needed. Funds are required to ensure that the Wild Lands Elephant Corridor is protected and fully restored to a flourishing habitat for wildlife. – The safe passage of elephants is essential in assuring the survival of its species.

Make a donation to the Wild Lands Elephant Project here

Read more about Kirsty's visit to the Garo Hills

Top Marks for Focus on Forests

WLT's educational website receives another award.

Topmarks Excellent Site Award

Rainforest education website Focus on Forests has been selected as "one of the best educational sites on the Internet" by Topmarks Education. Topmarks aims to provide easy access to the best educational websites for pupils, teachers and parents and all sites featured are reviewed by teachers. Presenting Focus on Forests with the "Topmarks Excellent Site Award", Sue Spolton of Topmarks said the website "is well designed, is easy to navigate and it has such an important message to young people".

This is the second award Focus on Forests has received this year, having been awarded a "5 star site"-rating for educational usefulness by Schoolzone in January.

Visit the Focus on Forests website

WLT News in Brief

World Land Trust Charity Auction a Great Success 

How much would you pay to have a beautiful, delicious, and very large homemade cake each month for a year? Well quite a lot it seems for the participants of the World Land Trust’s first ever charity auction. So much so in fact that once the cook herself had left the room the auctioneer added another lot of her cakes.

With the help of a local professional auctioneer, Nicholas Rudge, the event was a great success raising over £1500 for WLT’s most urgent projects in Ecuador, India and Patagonia. The auction also proved very popular, with many of the people who attended suggesting it should become a regular event – so we are now working on ideas for an even bigger and better auction for next autumn. The WLT would like to thank the local businesses and individuals who donated items for the auction and raffle and provided food and refreshments for the evening, and to everyone who came along and gave generously on the evening. Thanks also to Nicholas Rudge who entertained us with his skilful auctioneering and to WLT intern Rachel Beesley who organised the event as part of her Internship Programme.

Book of Thanks – a record of Patagonia donors

While in Patagonia John Burton delivered the Book of Thanks, which records all the donors who have contributed to the Patagonia Project Restoration Fund. World Land Trust supporter Bill Oddie gave it to Jose Maria Musmeci, the Director of the Fundación Patagonia Natural, while they were at the ranch filming for the BBC. As more donations come to the World Land Trust, the names of donors will be added, as a permanent record, to be kept on the Ranch for visitors to see. Although far from luxurious, the ranch can accommodate a few visitors, and if you are interested in visiting contact John Burton at the WLT for more information.

Paraguay: A new partner for the WLT

On route home from Patagonia, John visited Guyra Paraguay, WLT's new partner. One of the main purposes of the visit was to see the the Atlantic Rainforest remnants. In Paraguay, this forest is reduced to one large tract – San Rafael – and numerous increasingly scattered and fragmented small patches. Guyra is working to protect as much of the remaining Atlantic Rainforest as possible, but developing sustainable incomes is going to be difficult. However, some of the most spectacular wildlife in Paraguay is found in the grasslands, which are also relatively unexplored. And because grasslands are every bit as threatened as topical rainforests, it is in these areas that we think we should looking for new reserves.

Read more about John's visit to Paraguay - WLT's latest project area

Making Christmas Wildlife Friendly

Add a wildlife acre to your wish list this year.

It is that time of year again: Your friends and family are constantly asking what you want for Christmas, despite your assurance that you already have everything you need. And you just know that if you don't make a wish list, they will buy something anyway and you will end up with unwanted novelty items, or - dreaded thought - yet more socks... To avoid this scenario, why not ask your friends and loved ones to save an acre with the WLT on your behalf? Your friends will be happy knowing their gift is wanted and you can rest assured that you have helped save a wildlife habitat this year, instead of contributing to the destruction of the Earth.

No more socks!

Recommend WLT's rainforest acres as an alternative Christmas gift

Popular science magazine New Scientist is running a competition where, if you submit a gift idea, you can win an exclusive New Scientist T-shirt. If you think WLT's gift acres would make great 'green' Christmas gifts, why not suggest 'Save an acre of rainforest' and you could help spread the word about WLT's work – and perhaps even win a t-shirt.

New Scientist – No more socks: submit a gift idea

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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