John Burton, Chief Executive of World Land Trust (WLT), has expressed his thanks for the commitment of all the Trust’s supporters during the past year.
“As 2014 draws to a close, we can look back over a very successful year. The founding mission of World Land Trust is to save threatened habitats and endangered species. In 2014 we have been able to fulfil our mission thanks to the great generosity of the Trust’s strong network of supporters – individuals, corporate sponsors, zoological collections and schools. We can’t thank you enough,” he said.
Raising funds to purchase and protect land of conservation value remains WLT’s priority and during the year the Trust funded several significant purchases of biologically important habitats across the world. The Trust also extended its network of conservation partners and Keepers of the Wild.
There have been other important highlights in 2014, notably the Trust’s 25th Anniversary, which was celebrated in the company of WLT Patron Sir David Attenborough in London in May.
During 2014, WLT funded several land purchases in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In Latin America, WLT funded an extension to the Guapi Assu Reserve in the Atlantic forest of Brazil. In Ecuador in the foothills of the eastern Andes, WLT funded extensions to Río Zuñac Reserve and to Cerro Candelaria Reserve, and in the Choco forest of north west Ecuador, an extension to Río Canandé Reserve.
In the western highlands of Guatemala, WLT funded the Laguna Brava Reserve, and in western Honduras WLT funded land purchase in the cloud forest of Volcán Pacayita and Güisayote. In Mexico, WLT’s Buy an Acre fund paid for land purchase in the mountainous region of Sierra Gorda, and in the Choco of Colombia, to create the Lora Carirosada Reserve.
In Asia, WLT’s funding secured small parcels of land in the Kinabatangan flood plan to create the Keruak Corridor. In India, WLT is providing ongoing funding for the protection of the Chilkiya-Kota Corridor, and in Armenia, WLT is supporting the continued protection of land in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge.
In Africa, WLT funded the lease of land in Taita Hills, Kenya.
Borneo Rainforest Appeal
WLT’s Borneo Rainforest Appeal came to a successful conclusion when the £1 million target was reached in May 2014. Funds have since been released to secure the purchase of small parcels on land in the Keruak Corridor of the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
Big Cat Appeal
WLT launched the Big Cat Appeal in 2014, aiming to raise £500,000. During a concerted two week fundraising campaign in early October (Big Cat Big Match), £326,000 was raised in a combination of public donations and matched funds. The appeal total is now £340,000 and the appeal is ongoing.
Donations to the Big Cat Appeal have already been committed to purchasing a property in the Atlantic forest of Brazil to protect Puma habitat, to paying the first year’s costs on the El Pantanoso project to protect habitat for Jaguar and Puma, and supporting the purchase of a property in the dry forest of Ecuador, which will also protect Puma habitat.
In Asia, Big Cat Appeal funds have been allocated to funding a research programme proposed by the Iranian Cheetah Society for 2015, which will pave the way for future designation of Caucasian Leopard corridors by Iran’s Department of the Environment, and ongoing support for the Chilkiya-Kota Corridor in India and the voluntary location of villagers currently living in the corridor.
Big Cat Appeal funds have also been used to top up the Keepers of the Wild fund to support the employment of wildlife rangers working in reserves that shelter big cats.
WLT formed two new partnerships during the year, with Iranian Cheetah Society and with Naturaleza y Cultura Peru.
At the 25th Anniversary Symposium at Kew Gardens, London, in May, WLT’s network of partners reconfirmed their commitment to the Alliance for Conservation, WLT’s network of conservation partners.
In 2014 WLT developed a new Carbon Balanced project in Khe Nuoc Trong forest, Vietnam with Viet Nature Conservation Centre, who became a partner in 2013.
Keepers of the Wild
As at December 2014, WLT is funding 27 Keepers of the Wild, wildlife rangers in reserves created with WLT’s support. These rangers are employed by 19 partners in 16 countries.
During the year, a number of new Keepers of the Wild were appointed: Ranger Rene in Barba Azul Nature Reserve, Bolivia (Asociación Armonía); Ranger Adrián in La Esperanza Wildlife Refuge, Patagonia (Fundación Patagonia Natural); Ranger Silvio in Yanacocha Reserve, Ecuador (Fundación Jocotoco); Ranger Andrew in Leleshwa Nature Reserve, Kenya (Nature Kenya); Rangers Edenilson, Asterio and Alexis at Three Giants, Paraguay (Guyra Paraguay); Rangers Dang Hieu and Quoc Hieu in Khe Nuoc Trong, Vietnam (Viet Nature Conservation Centre); Ranger Albert in Belize (Programme for Belize); Ranger Kalassa Kalaba, Zambia (Kasanka Trust).
WLT’s 25th Anniversary was launched in May 2014 in London by WLT Patron Sir David Attenborough and runs until May 2015.
A commemorative booklet was published to mark the 25th Anniversary and the Trust launched the first International Trail Camera Competition in association with The Times newspaper with sponsorship from Enterprise Plants.
During the second half the year, WLT’s programme of anniversary events involved two other Patrons: the second annual Controversial Conservation debate with Chris Packham was held at the Royal Society, and David Gower hosted a fundraising evening in the company of Simon Barnes and Bill Oddie in Blackfriars Hall, Norwich.
The number of WLT’s supporters continued to grow during the year, with 1,500 WLT Friends (regular, monthly donors), 60 corporate supporters, 21,000 Facebook followers, 12,600 Twitter followers, 6,000 ebulletin subscribers.
Meanwhile, WLT’s Anniversary Fundraisers continued to amaze and inspire with their creative and intrepid ways of raising donations. We thank you all, and we congratulate you on your achievements.