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
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.
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.
WLT visits Garo Hills, the location
of short story Toomai of the Elephants.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
The World Land Trust is a UK based conservation
charity no.1001291 concerned with the protection of threatened habitats
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