In the last issue we gave you news of our success in recruiting more overseas representatives for the Trust. While we were very excited by this development we initially had no conception of the sheer volume of news or exciting prospective projects this would generate. To be honest we could fill a whole year’s worth of newsletters with material these marvellous people have already sent us – but what a wonderful problem that is! Our thanks go out to them all. Please be patient, your ‘news’ will appear in these pages in due course!
To whet your appetite and demonstrate just how much our horizons have widened as a result of these owl ambassadors, we bring you news from a country of which we knew absolutely nothing so far as owls were concerned. Indeed, it has been more in the news of late due to the progress of the Olympic torch than for its conservation record! No longer. Our Nepalese representative, Raju Acharya, has proved himself to be a fantastic ambassador not only for the owls of his native land (of which we now know there are 20 species) but for the Trust as well.
Although he is currently studying the impact of coffee agroforestry on the water regime and climate change in the Western Ghats of India at the University of Wales, within a few weeks of meeting us at the World Owl Conference in Holland. Raju was back in his homeland carrying out an Owl Conservation Awareness Camp for 35 students and three teachers from two Secondary Schools in Kathmandu, and 2 staff from the Kunmarigal Mother Centre where the Camp was held! This kind of ‘awareness’ work is of vital importance since in Nepal birds, including owls, are often killed in large numbers by children who know no better, adding to the usual problem of the notorious wildlife trade. Raju tells us that bird conservation awareness among the local people is extremely low when compared to mammals, so this Camp was a first step in trying to rectify this. We are proud to be associated with such work and its inspirational champion, and were honoured that our logo figured prominently (see photo) along with that of our associates at the Global Owl Project and the equally inspiring local Conservation Group, Friends of Nature (Nepal).
Raju says that as a result of this Camp, the now confident students were anxious to share their newly found knowledge with friends who had not been able to attend. Best of all, at the end of the day they asked whether more such days could be organized – a great outcome. We suspect that having read this, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that more training days are planned, and another 'Mr Dynamite', David Johnson our Global Owl Project (GLOW) representative in the USA, is already hard at work on a 'Field Guide to the Owls of Nepal' for help at future Owl Conservation Camps! We have certainly unearthed some doughty champions for the world’s owls. Things are looking up!
Incidently, by the time you read this Raju will be on his way to India to present his dissertation on his coffee agroforestry project, so I am sure you will join all of us at the Trust in wishing him success with this. Perhaps we’ll be calling him ‘Dr’ by the time he gets back!Tony Warburton
|World Owl Trust
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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.