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7 Feb 2015

Massive boost for BirdLife's Marine work

Tufted Puffin (Ben Lascelles)
By Martin Fowlie

BirdLife’s Marine Programme has a received a huge boost from the world’s largest event for nature.

The British Birdwatching Fair’s Tim Appleton and Martin Davies presented a record-breaking cheque for £280,000 to Patricia Zurita, BirdLife’s Chief Executive at an event held at the London Wetland Centre.

The funds will be spent on ensuring that marine protected areas cover critical at-sea habitats for seabirds and other marine species, around Europe, Africa, Antarctica and the high seas.

These sites will protect critical breeding and feeding areas, as well as areas vital for seabirds on migration.

Patricia Zurita, said, “BirdLife International and our Partners working in marine protected areas are very grateful to the Birdfair. This cheque will enable us to work with national governments to create a network of areas that will conserve threatened seabirds, marine mammals, fish stocks and other species.  

At the event it was also announced that the 2015 event will raise funds to reduce the scale and impact of illegal killing of migratory birds in the Eastern Mediterranean. . The aim of the project will be to reduce the scale and impact of illegal killing of migratory birds, and to improve protection and laws throughout the region.

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The Eastern Mediterranean is used by hundreds of millions of migratory birds twice yearly on their migration between Europe and Africa, each spring and autumn. The Africa-Eurasia flyway is used by more than 25 species of bird facing the threat of global extinction

“Your support this year will help our partners in the Mediterranean basin tackle the illegal killing of migrant birds, addressing a key threat that our partnership has prioritised", said Zurita.

(From left) BirdLife's Ben Lascelles, Patricia Zurita, John Croxall and Cleo Small holding the record-breaking cheque (Martin Fowlie)    

The British Birdwatching Fair is jointly organised by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.  A wide range of fantastic conservation projects have been supported by Birdfair over the last 26 years..

The support from the Birdfair has enabled BirdLife to make some remarkable conservation achievements, including the creation of several new national parks. We’ve helped birds under real threat of extinction, from albatrosses to White-winged Guans.