Simon Lyster, a Trustee of the World Land Trust (WLT), shares his personal reasons for remembering WLT in his Will and honestly discusses the Trust’s struggle to attract legacy donations
Writing about legacies is not easy. Nobody likes to think about their own death but, like it or not, I am going to die one day. Obviously, my first priority is to make sure my family are taken care of as best as I can once I am gone, but I also want to help the World Land Trust, and remembering the Trust in my Will is an incredibly valuable way of helping.
I am passionate about WLT because I think securing the conservation of important wildlife habitats is critically important for the future of both wildlife and people. The Trust also has brilliant local partners to manage the land once secured, and I know any money I give the Trust will be well spent.
Strangely, WLT does not receive many legacy donations. Other conservation organisations like WWF, RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts get 20 per cent or more of their annual income from legacies. As a Trustee of WLT, this is something I want to change because legacies often produce surprisingly large sums of money which could make a really significant land purchase possible.
Land is becoming more and more expensive to secure. I recently visited an incredibly important corridor area, between Corbett National Park and Ramnagar State Forest in India, that WLT is working to protect for elephants and tigers. Securing the corridor is crucial for the future of these and other animals, but it is not going to be cheap.
WLT is also actively trying to raise funds for some last remaining fragments of tropical forest habitat in Malaysian Borneo (along the Kinabatangan river floodplain) to be bought by our local partners. The idea is to secure what is left and to try and link the remaining fragments to create a viable habitat for the dense populations of orang-utans and other primates that have been squeezed in there because of the destruction of surrounding areas for palm oil plantations. Land prices are frighteningly high, but a legacy could ensure they are saved.
So, you might want to think about joining me in remembering your family, first and foremost, in your Will, but also leaving a bit to the WLT to help save some of the planet’s most threatened wildlife.