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Fair Funds Peru

British Birdfair raised record funds for Peru project

BirdLife International`s Saving Northern Peru`s Dry Forests project was yesterday presented with a record cheque from the 2004 British Birdwatching Fair.

The Birdfair is proud to donate a record ?164,000 [c.$300,000] to BirdLife International`s exciting initiative in north-western Peru and Ecuador. This money is a measure of how important global bird conservation is to the 17,500 birdwatchers who visited the Fair at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in August 2004, said Fair co-organiser Martin Davies, who presented the cheque. It takes the total raised for international conservation projects by the Birdfair in its 16 year history to ?1,288,000 [c.$2.3 million].

North-western Peru contains parts of eight Endemic Bird Areas including the bird-rich Tumbesian Region. The area supports 80 endemic bird species and 21 globally threatened species, including spectacular flagship species like the critically endangered White-winged Guan Penelope albipennis, the vulnerable Marvellous Spatuletail Loddigesia mirabilis (a hummingbird) and the near threatened Long-whiskered Owlet Xenoglaux loweryi (only known from mistnet-captured birds and not yet seen in the wild).The dry forests of northern Peru are clearly special but they are also under pressure; sadly, only 5% of natural forest habitat now remains in the region. The funds raised by the Birdfair will allow BirdLife to target conservation action where it is needed most ? to particular species, and sites where they will work with local people and develop the capacity to secure the future of this region as a whole.

This money is vital for the BirdLife Partnership to help protect one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. BirdLife greatly thanks the Birdfair and the thousands of people who visited last year`s event and gave so generously. saidDr Michael Rands, Director, BirdLife International.

The organisers also announced that the 2005 Birdfair will raise funds to help BirdLife save one of southeast Asia`s most critically endangered and spectacular birds. The Gurney`s Pitta Pitta gurneyi is a secretive but brilliantly coloured bird of the forest floor. Only known from peninsular Thailand and adjacent southern Myanmar (Burma), it has a remarkable history. It was discovered in 1875, and fairly widely reported up to the 1920s. It was last seen in 1936, before being rediscovered in 1986 in southern Thailand, where a small population of around 12 pairs can still be found.In 2003, the ornithological world was stunned to hear the discovery of a new, much larger population of the pitta in southern Tanintharyi Division (Tenasserim), Myanmar. However, even since this discovery, large areas of the species` habitat have already been cleared.

As part of an international focus on this beautiful and enigmatic bird, the money raised by the 2005 Birdfair will be used to support a local NGO (BANCA) in its efforts to save this flagship species from extinction. BANCA will be working to help establish protected areas in the lowland forests where the pitta occurs, as well as providing training and other support.

4th July 2014