During 2012 World Land Trust (WLT) stayed true to its founding mission. The main aim has always been to raise funds to purchase critically threatened habitats, and to develop pioneering projects and partnerships with overseas conservation organisations.
Ongoing protection of the reserves was made possible through WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme. WLT’s Plant a Tree programme enabled reforestation on reserve areas that had been cleared prior to purchase. Additionally, companies and individuals were able to offset their unavoidable carbon emissions through WLT’s Carbon Balanced programme.
2012: A Year in Pictures
World Land Trust celebrated the start of 2012 by helping create the first nature reserve to protect the only known habitat of the Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis), considered the most poisonous vertebrate on Earth. WLT helped project partner ProAves make this possible in Colombia with help from corporate supporter Puro Coffee. Posting dated 27 Jan 2012
In an inspiring speech at an event held at the end of January, Sir David Attenborough explained why, in his view, the ethos and principles of World Land Trust (WLT) are the most effective ways of saving the planet’s threatened species. He was speaking at an event in London hosted by law firm Charles Russell for the World Land Trust. Posting dated 30 Jan 2012
WLT’s overseas project partners had an opportunity to meet at Kew Gardens, between 31 January and 3 February 2012. There were some 40 participants, not including WLT staff, representing 20 partner organisations from 15 different countries. The focus of the symposium was a discussion of practical solutions for working with communities for land purchase and management for biodiversity conservation.
In February WLT launched live webcams for wildlife lovers on the WLT website, and stream live images from the rainforest in Brazil and Ecuador. The webcams continue to be very popular with visitors to the website. Posting dated 28 Feb 2012.
WLT concluded a partnership agreement with Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ). This was followed up by a site visit by WLT staff to Zambia in June.
WLT celebrated the first anniversary of the Keepers of the Wild Programme. Set up in 2011, the aim of the programme was to help WLT’s partner organisations employ rangers to protect WLT funded reserves from poachers, illegal loggers and other habitat destruction. A year on the programme has been a resounding success, and has been universally welcomed by WLT partners. The keepers’ regular reports demonstrate that the additional wardens are doing good work protecting and monitoring the reserves, as well as raising awareness of nature conservation by working with the local community, local schools and volunteers. Posting dated 6 Mar 2012
WLT celebrated the protection of a wildlife corridor in Borneo (222 acres – c 90 hectares) with vital support from the Sabah state government. This was another important step in the Borneo project which culminated at the end of 2012 with the launch of the Borneo Rainforest Appeal – aiming to raise a million pounds. Posting dated 12 Mar 2012
Also this month, the Margarita Island Parrot Appeal was launched to increase the protection of Yellow-shouldered Parrots in the island's threatened dry forests, which are vital roosting sites for the parrot.
The Body Shop officially launched their Wood Positive initiative on 22 April. Working directly with WLT this initiative enables The Body Shop to offset their annual consumption of paper and cardboard throughout their supply chain by funding the protection and regeneration of habitats in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and the Andean foothills of southern Ecuador through WLT. Posting dated 10 May 2012
John Burton made a site visit to the project area in Misiones Province, Argentina to reach agreement with local communities and the government on the proposed land purchase. On Monday 16 April, the agreement was announced in the Governor’s Office, in Posadas the Capital of Misiones province, in front of eleven ministers of the government, with three Guaraní Caciques speaking, to emphasise its importance. The historic agreement settled years of dispute over Guarani communities’ indigenous rights. There was considerable media coverage on TV and in all the newspapers the following day. Posting dated 11 May 2012
The Trust’s AGM took place at the home of WLT trustee, Andrew von Preussen in Suffolk on 23 May. It was attended by trustees, council members, representatives of World Land Trust-US, staff and invited guests. A reception in the evening was attended by 100 supporters and guests.
And in Mexico WLT celebrated the creation of the 754 acre (305 hectare) Cerro Prieto-Cerro La Luz Reserve – helping to protect fragile cloud forest in Sierra Gorda’s vast wilderness that is home to Pumas, Jaguars and Black Bears. Posting dated 12 Sep 2012
In June, Ruth Canning, WLT’s Conservation Programmes Officer (Americas Region) made a site visit to Bolivia to check the feasibility of WLT supporting further land purchase of Beni savanna in order to save the last population of Blue-throated Macaws and a wealth of other endangered wildlife. Working with Asociación Armonía, WLT agreed that the proposed extension of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve would become a Buy an Acre project in January 2013.
Also in June, the Misiones State Government presented WLT’s project to save the Atlantic Rainforest in Argentina at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Posting dated 20 Jun 2012
At the end of June Roger Wilson WLT’s Senior Conservationist: Special Projects Development and Mary Tibbett WLT’s Conservation Programmes Officer (Asia and Africa Regions) made a site visit to Zambia, where WLT works in partnership with Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ), with funding primarily donated by WLT's corporate supporter, Gemfields. WLT and WECSZ concluded a partnership agreement in February 2012
In July, WLT funds helped preserve 363 acres of cloud forest in Central Colombia that was at risk from destruction by the gold mining industry, thereby protecting the Fuertes parrot. Posting dated 6 Jul 2012
Also in July WLT and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) launched the BIAZA Keepers of the Wild programme. BIAZA had previously raised over £120,000 towards the purchase of 1,651 acres (668 ha) of Atlantic forest in Brazil. Known as ‘The BIAZA Reserve’ this property is now owned, protected and managed by WLT project partner REGUA. Posting dated 25 Jul 2012
In August, WLT was delighted to announce that the Margarita Island Parrot Appeal had successfully met its target of £10,000. Posting dated 10 Aug 2012
In the same month, WLT celebrated the first anniversary of Plant a Tree. The aim of the Plant a Tree appeal is to support planting of native trees to extend the remaining areas of Atlantic Rainforest at the Guapi Assu Reserve, reconnecting fragmented habitat and providing additional food sources for bird and animal populations. By August some 5,000 trees had been planted thanks to the Plant a Tree appeal.
Also in August, WLT hosted a visit from Rodrigo Zarate from Guyra Paraguay. During the visit Rodrigo joined WLT staff at the WLT stall at the annual British Bird Watching Fair.
During the summer word reached WLT that land adjoining the Sierra Gorda reserve was available for purchase. Thanks to generous donations from our corporate supporter Travel Republic, WLT was able to act quickly and send funds to our Mexican partner Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG). As a result GESG successfully extending the reserve by 124 acres (50 ha). Posting dated 12 Sep 2012
In the same month World Land Trust launched a new Special Appeal to support a conservation project to save threatened habitat for the rare Caucasian Leopard in Armenia. Posting dated 14 Sep 2012
Also in September, WLT co-hosted a symposium in Singapore. WLT invited partners and representatives of local NGOS from across Asia to meet to discuss 'Securing Land for Conservation in Asia: Opportunities, Pitfalls & Alternatives.’ The event was organised jointly with IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands. It involved 17 conservation managers from 12 countries across Asia plus three staff from WLT, Marc Hoogeslag from IUCN NL and Simon Bennett from Swire Group.
During October WLT achieved a number of significant land purchases in Central and South America.
In early October WLT continued to support conservation work in Paraguay, with the purchase a further 677 acres (274 ha) of land in San Rafael on 8 October. A month later, in November, Guyra Paraguay, WLT’s partner in Paraguay, celebrated its 15th anniversary. Posting dated 22 Oct 2012
Meanwhile in Ecuador a further 190 acres were saved adding considerable conservation value to the Narupa Reserve. Posting dated 22 Oct 2012
And in Mexico, WLT funds enabled Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG) to purchase a further 564 acres to give the threatened species of Mexico more secure land in which to flourish. Posting dated 22 Oct 2012
Also in October, WLT arranged a site visit to Sabah in Malaysian Borneo in October for staff and supporters including Simon Barnes, WLT council member and The Times journalist. Posting dated 22 Nov 2012
In the same month, Ruth Canning began a month long stint in Mexico where she worked in the office of WLT’s Mexican partner GESG, and assisted in monitoring a number of reserves purchased with support from WLT funds.
To round off the month, WLT Chair, Rohini Finch, joined John Burton on a site visit to Misiones Province to agree the final hurdle in the purchase and protection of Corredor Verde Esmeralda (Emerald Green Corridor). The purchase of Lote Ocho (Lot 8) which forms the first part of the proposed reserve corridor was dependent on a small access road and its location was agreed. This parcel of land was considered the top priority to protect in the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve as it connects the Esmeraldas Provincial Park and Mocona Provincial Park in Argentina, to the Turvo State Park in Brazil, on the other side of the Uruguay River.
In November donations started coming in for the next phase of WLT’s Borneo Rainforest Appeal following a feature piece by WLT council member, Simon Barnes in The Times. The Borneo Rainforest Appeal – aiming to raise a million - will be formally launched in 2013. Posting dated 22 Nov 2012
The results of the BBC Wildlife Magazine Camera-Trap Photo of the Year competition, in association with WLT and Paramo, were announced in November. The WLT funded award for New Discoveries was won by Rob Wallace and his team at the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program for their picture of an extremely rare Bolivian Oncilla also known as Little Spotted Cat or Tiger Cat. Posting dated 22 Nov 2012
Meanwhile John Burton, WLT Chief Executive was busy in Guatemala helping our Guatemalan partner FUNDAECO raise private sector funding for the Laguna Grande-Sarstún Reserve. Posting dated 27 Nov 2012
And further south, in Brazil the strategic purchase of 54 acres (22 hectares) of land bordering the Matumbo Gap in Brazil extended a crucial wildlife corridor in the Atlantic rainforest. World Land Trust (WLT) partner, Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA) purchased the land thanks to funding from World Land Trust supporters. Posting dated 13 Dec 2012
Back in the UK, the country’s first printers had succeeded in becoming Carbon Balanced Publication Printers. Posting dated 19 Nov 2012
In December World Land Trust announced a new Buy an Acre project in Bolivia, from 2013 onwards, with the intention of raising funds to extend the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Posting dated 13 Dec 2012
World Land Trust started December with a successful fundraising campaign, the Big Give Christmas Challenge to raise two years’ worth of funding for Keepers of the Wild. Posting dated 5 Dec 2012
And at the December trustees meeting, WLT was pleased to announce a new patron. From 2013, Chris Packham will be joining our existing patrons, Sir David Attenborough and David Gower. Posting dated 11 Jan 2013
We rounded off the year with a Winter Exhibition at WLT gallery, which had its first anniversary in December.