Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Bill Oddie to Visit First Coastal Wildlife Refuge in Patagonia

15 September, 2004 - 00:00 -- World Land Trust
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Bill Oddie with a cheque for WLT's Costa Rica Project

Bill Oddie (centre) with a cheque from Geest PLC to set WLT's Costa Rica Project rolling in 1995. (Photo courtesy of Geest PLC)

Famous Birder to make BBC TV programme in WLT's Patagonia reserve.

World-famous birder Bill Oddie will be visiting the World Land Trusts reserve in Patagonia in October. He will spend time on the reserve, known as the Ranch of Hopes Wildlife Refuge, to film a programme for his next series on birdwatching for BBC TV.

As Bill has never visited Patagonia he is excited at the prospect of seeing the wonderful birds of Patagonia for the first time. While on the Ranch of Hopes he can expect to see the colourful Burrowing Parrot, Darwin's Rhea (South American Ostrich) and local specialities such as the Patagonian Mockingbird and the Patagonian Yellow Finch. There are also many 'little brown jobs' so beloved by serious birders like Bill, with inspiring names such as the Scaly-throated Earthcreeper and the Plain-mantled Tit-spinetail. Bill is also guaranteed to see herds of Guanacos (wild llamas), as well as Maras (a sort of giant Guinea pig also known as Patagonian Hare), and will see the tracks of the resident Pumas, although he will be extremely lucky if he sees the elusive Pumas themselves.

The Ranch of Hopes was purchased with the financial assistance of the World Land Trust, and is protected and managed by the Trust's local partner organisation Fundación Patagonia Natural. It was the first reserve to be created in the coastal steppe of Patagonia, which is among the world's largest continuous natural habitats.

The World Land Trust is a UK-based international charity conserving endangered wildlife habitats worldwide, working through local non-government partner organisations (NGOs). Together with its partners it has been instrumental in purchasing and protecting over 300,000 acres of critically threatened habitats, which are all now protected as wildlife reserves. To put this into perspective, this is an area nearly as big as Greater London, and covers an area greater than all the RSPBs reserves put together.

Bill Oddie has been a committed supporter of the World Land Trust since it was established in 1989 and helped launch several of its projects including Rainforest Action Costa Rica, Focus on Forests and Green Ink. About the WLT, Bill says:

"Everyone's concerned about the threats to the planet but not that many people are actually getting down to doing something that really makes a difference. The World Land Trust is and that's why I give them my full support."

The film of Bill Oddie's visit to Patagonia will be transmitted on BBC TV early in 2005.

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