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The World Land Trust eBulletin Issue 34, December 2005

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In this double issue:
Ecuador Update: Endangered Bird on the Road to Recovery
Christmas Shopping that Benefits the World Land Trust
Elephants Come to the Skating Rink...
...And Patagonia Comes to the Royal Geographical Society
WLT News in Brief
Seasons Greetings from the World Land Trust team

Ecuador Update: Endangered Bird on the Road to Recovery 

Nest with three pale-headed brush finch chicks and one cowbird.
Pale-headed Brush Finch nest with three brush finch chicks and one parasiting cowbird chick (top left). Photo © Niels Krabbe.

The number of Pale-headed Brush Finch breeding pairs at Yunguilla Reserve has increased by 80% in seven years.

Nobody had seen the critically endangered Pale-headed Brush Finch since 1969 and the bird was thought to be possibly extinct, when in November 1998 ornithologist Niels Krabbe and colleagues found a small colony of about ten pairs at Yunguilla, Azuay Province, Ecuador. In response to the discovery, the WLT's Ecuadorian partner organisation, The Jocotoco Foundation, promptly created the Yunguilla Reserve to protect the tiny remnant population of brush finches.

After researching the breeding biology of the species it became apparent that nest-parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds was a major problem. Cowbirds parasite brush finches by laying one or more eggs in the other species' nest, and the adult brush finches subsequently rear the cowbird chicks as if they were their own. With almost all of the Pale-headed Brush Finch nests containing cowbird eggs or young in the 1999 season, the outlook for the species was not good.

But here's the good news: A campaign to reduce the impact of the cowbird parasitism over the last three years has yielded excellent results. By 2004 there were about thirty breeding pairs of brush finches, and this year about fifty pairs - an increase of 80% since the rediscovery in 1998.

Help protect the Pale-headed Brush Finch or other threatened wildlife

The reserve at Yunguilla has been progressively expanded to accommodate the growing population of the Pale-headed Brush Finch and is currently over 100 hectares (about 250 acres). However, the target size for the reserve is 500 ha (1,250 acres), so here's your chance to help save a piece of brush finch habitat: Donate to the WLT's Ecuador project and you will help fund future land purchases in this and the other six Jocotoco Foundation reserves, which all provide habitats for threatened birds, such as El Oro Parakeet, Great-green Macaw, Black-breasted Puffleg and Jocotoco Antpitta. The reserves can be visited, making your donation the perfect gift for any bird lover.

For delivery before Christmas please make your donation by 1pm (GMT) on 16 December. The World Land Trust office will be closed from December 24 to January 2.

Make a donation to the Ecuador project

Read more about the Jocotoco Foundations reserves in Ecuador

Christmas Shopping that Benefits the World Land Trust

Start raising money for the WLT when you search the web or shop for Christmas gifts online with everyclick.com

Should you wish to buy other Christmas gifts (in addition to your rainforest acres of course!), shop online using everyclick.com and you can still support the WLT for Christmas. Everyclick.com is an internet search engine with a big difference - it donates half its revenues to charity. It does not cost the WLT, or you, a penny. To support the WLT every time you search the web, just make www.everyclick.com/uk/worldlandtrust your home page and use it whenever you search the web.

While everyclick.com is no Google, it has an excellent feature: The ability to shop online and raise additional funds for charity as you do so. To search for Christmas gifts online with everyclick.com, select the "Christmas shopping" link. All purchases made though the links on this page generate additional funds for the Trust, and you can see just how much next to each shop link (3.5%-5% of sales is a common range). Shops include Amazon.co.uk, Thorntons, John Lewis, play.com, Early Learning Centre, Virgin Wines and many more.

Raise money for the WLT by using everyclick.com

Elephants Come to the Skating Rink...

Vivek Menon
Vivek Menon, Executive Director of Wildlife Trust of India, speaking to a guest during the Country & Eastern event in Norwich.

Elephants came to Norwich on 27 October when Vivek Menon, Executive Director of the WLT’s partner organisation in India, Wildlife Trust of India, came over to the UK and spoke to friends and supporters about just how effective elephant corridors are in saving vital habitats for endangered Indian elephants. Vivek was the guest of honour at an evening reception held at the wonderful Country & Eastern Emporium and sponsored by the Eaton branch of Waitrose. Supporters of the WLT have already funded work being carried out on the wildlife corridor in Garo Hills, north east India and at the event Vivek described additional elephant corridors which had been identified throughout the country, some of which WLT hopes to be able to support in the future. Country & Eastern is housed in what was Norwich’s Victorian Skating Rink, and provided a sumptuous venue where guests were able to begin their Christmas shopping.

Thanks to Jeannie and Philip Millward, owners of Country & Eastern, for generously allowing us to use it for this event, and to Waitrose for providing the food and wine.

Read more about WLT's current project in India

Make a donation to the India project

...And Patagonia Comes to the Royal Geographical Society

Jose Maria Musmeci
José María Musmeci, Director of Fundación Patagonia Natural at the Royal Geographical Society.

On Wednesday, 2 November Bill Oddie introduced his BBC film “Bill Oddie with Penguins, Parrots and Whales”, which was filmed on WLT’s Ranch of Hopes Wildlife Refuge in Patagonia and features wildlife of the steppes as well as stunning footage of killer whales coming to shore in search of seals. Bill was joined by his producer, Stephen Moss, cameraman John Aitchison and researcher Mike Dolger as well as José María Musmeci, Director of Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN), WLT’s partner organisation in Patagonia. We welcomed 300 guests to the lecture theatre of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), which with its full size screen really did justice to this wonderful film. Bill was able to give some humorous insights into the filming and the wildlife they were watching. Funding from the making of the film enabled FPN to upgrade the facilities on the ranch to provide basic visitor accommodation. Many thanks to Bill and the BBC team for making this such an enjoyable evening.

Celebrating Five Years at Ranch of Hopes

The RGS screening of “Bill Oddie with Penguins, Parrots and Whales” also marked the Fifth Anniversary of the Ranch of Hopes Wildlife Refuge. Through the expert management of FPN, the region’s foremost conservation organisation, this project has seen a great number of achievements in its first five years, which you can read all about on the WLT website.

The next challenge is how to ensure the reserve is financially sustainable for the long-term future. A development plan is being drawn up, but at present there is still much work to be done and the Ranch of Hopes needs your support to keep it running while these plans are put in place. Please make a donation to ensure that this success story can continue into the future.

Read more about the first five years at Ranch of Hopes

Make a donation to the Patagonia project

WLT News in Brief

Robert Bennett and Bill Oddie
Bill Oddie, right, receives a cheque for £10,000 from Robert Bennett, owner of pickatrail.com. The money is for the WLT's Ecuador project, raised through airport parking bookings on the pickatrail website, and was handed over at the RGS event.

£15,000 for Conservation

At the screening of “Bill Oddie with Penguins, Parrots and Whales”, Bill received two cheques on behalf of the World Land Trust: One for £5,000 from new sponsors Miko Coffee and one for £10,000 from pickatrail.com. The WLT would like to thank these and all our other sponsors who have helped us save wildlife habitats during the year.

Travelling abroad over Christmas?

Book your airport parking with pickatrail.com and support the WLT at no extra cost to you. All commissions normally paid go to the Tropical Forest project in Ecuador.

Book airport parking with pickatrail.com

Seasons Greetings from the World Land Trust team

Thank you so much for your support during 2005. We look forward to working with all our supporters and sponsors on new projects in 2006, including the reserve in Paraguay and Reef & Mangrove projects.

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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