In a cheque presentation ceremony at Rutland Water, the organisers of Birdfair announced that the 2018 event raised £322,000 to assist BirdLife Argentina in the creation of Argentina’s largest National Park.
The Ansenuza National Park will protect up Mar Chiquita (‘little sea’), a vast wetland in the heart of Argentina which is the size of Leicestershire and supports a wide variety of wildlife, including all three South America flamingo species, maned wolf and crowned solitary eagle.
Mar Chiquita is the world’s fifth largest salt lake, and South America’s second-largest water body. It is designated as a provincial reserve, a Ramsar site, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve.
However, Mar Chiquita is shrinking as water is being extracted from the lake and the rivers that feed it at unsustainable rates. It is also under pressure from unregulated tourism, deforestation and pollution.
The creation of the National Park, once confirmed by the Argentinian government, will address these issues.
The 2018 event raised the third largest in Birdfair’s history, having raised £350,000 in 2016 and £330,000 in 2017.
The 2016 and 2017 raised money for Tsitongambarika in Madagascar and Rapa Ilti in French Polynesia respectively.
The profits from Birdfair 2019 will go towards conserving Cambodia’s Big Five in Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary. These Big Five are: white-shouldered ibis, giant ibis, white-rumped vulture, slender-billed vulture and red-headed vulture.
As in previous years, renowned wildlife artist Carrie Aykroyd has designed the Birdfair poster.
All the projects receiving money from Birdfair are supported by Birdlife International and the respective organisations in the countries.
BBC Wildlife Magazine is an associate sponsor of Birdfair and will have a stand at the event.