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Conservation Champions

BP Record Awards; Ridgeway Camapaign Culmination?

BP Conservation boost for birds

$600,000 has been awarded to 29 teams of young conservationists as part of the BP Conservation Programme, a unique collaboration between BirdLife International and three other leading environmental organisations. The record prize fund was awarded at an awards ceremony held last night in London. The 29 teams came from 23 countries around the globe, with their projects focusing on a wide variety on issues ranging from protecting bats in Madagascar to coral conservation in the Marshall Islands. One of the winners of the three main $75,000 Consolidation Awards (awarded to continue the work of previous BP Award winners), is the Threatened Birds of Bolivia Project, which aims to improve the situation for all 29 of Bolivia`s globally threatened bird species and the habitats they live in, including the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis.

The training and long-term support provided by this Programme increases the immediate capabilities of projects, but perhaps more significantly, builds the skills, enthusiasm and potential of individual team members. Marianne Dunn, Programme manager, BP Conservation Programme.

Other bird projects to benefit include: a $30,000 Follow-up Award to a team led by Nature Uganda (BirdLife in Uganda) to monitor the status of the globally threatened Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea in Uganda; a project to survey for Orange-necked Partridges in Vietnam; conservation of the recently-discovered Araripe Manakin Antilophia bokermanni in Brazil; and a project to conserve endangered grassland birds in Uruguay. Please see the BP Conservation web site http://conservation.bp.com/news/awards.asp for further details of all the winners.Roof raised for Ridgway`s return

London`s Tower Bridge was raised twice this morning for sailor John Ridgway, as he finished his year-long voyage around the world`s oceans to highlight the needless slaughter of albatrosses and other seabirds by pirate long-line fishermen.Schoolchildren operated the controls that raised and lowered the bridge to mark John`s return to the United Kingdom after his mammoth 327 day trip that covered more than 30,000 miles.

All of the world`s 21 species of albatross face a very real risk of extinction over the next few years. John`s heroic voyage has drawn the world`s attention to the possibility of a bleak future where these magnificent seabirds no longer grace our oceans. ? Dr Mike Rands, Director, BirdLife

Long-lining poses the most serious threat to albatrosses and is responsible for the deaths of more than 300,000 seabirds including 100,000 albatrosses every year. Many vessels are pirates, flying under flags of convenience of countries with no interest in responsible fishing. Sixty-six year old John, from Ardmore, north-west Scotland, left London in July accompanied by his wife Marie-Christine and a handful of volunteers. Their yacht, the English Rose VI, sailed through Cape Town, Melbourne, Wellington, and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands before heading back to the UK. The voyage was seeking long-line fleets hunting prized fish for lucrative sushi markets in Japan and the US.

John`s next trip will be somewhat shorter… He is a joining a delegation from BirdLife to present a petition against pirate long-line fishing to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome next week.

4th July 2014