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Birdfair raises record funds for pitta project

High Hopes for Rimatara Lorikeet in 2006

The biggest ever British Birdwatching Fair has produced record funds for vital conservation work in the forests of south-east Asia.

Over 18,000 bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts visited the British Birdwatching Fair in August 2005. The three-day annual event is held at Rutland Water and is jointly promoted by the RSPB and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Record crowds enjoyed the event last year and helped contribute £200,000 to BirdLife's Saving Gurney’s pitas and their forest home project.

The record amount raised was announced today at an event held at The Lodge, the headquarters of the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK). Dr Michael Rands, BirdLife's Chief Executive, and Jonathan Eames, Programme Manager of BirdLife International in Indochina, were presented with a cheque on behalf of BirdLife."Gurney’s Pitta is an outrageously beautiful bird. It has been at the centre of decades of efforts to save its small populations in the forests of Thailand and the more-recently discovered larger populations in the lowland forests of Myanmar. The support of British birdwatchers will help to fund vital work to protect the species’ beleaguered forest home and hopefully help establish a new national park to protect these forests," commented Jonathan Eames, Programme Manager of BirdLife International in Indochina.

The 2005 Birdfair raised a record £200,000 towards helping to conserve Gurney's Pittas in south-east Asia. Martin Davies, the RSPB’s International Funding Unit manager and one of the organisers of the Bird Fair, expressed his delighted at the contribution the event can make to international projects. "From the wetlands of Madagascar to the dry forests of Peru, conservation projects have been directly helped by funds raised at the Birdfair. British birdwatchers should be truly proud of what they have been able to help achieve," he commented.

As well as announcing the amount raised by the 2005 Birdfair, Martin Davies also revealed the beneficiary of this year's event.

"The 2006 Birdfair will focus attention on the islands of the Pacific Ocean, home to some of the world’s most threatened parrots. For sheer colour we thought the spectacular Gurney’s Pitta would be hard to beat – but one of the species that will benefit this year, the Rimatara Lorikeet, is just as stunning. Such charismatic birds really do help to highlight some of the challenges the BirdLife partnership faces around the world. By focussing on these star birds we can ensure that their homes, be they forests in south-east Asia or islands of the south Pacific, are protected."

4th July 2014