The World Owl Trust is the acknowledged leader in the field of global owl conservation and is currently represented by Overseas Representatives in 11 different countries – Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Southern India, South Africa, Ukraine and the USA.
Since 1995 the Trust has made the Philippines its main focus abroad, since this country of over 7000 islands (13 of them major islands with their own endemic fauna and flora) has suffered perhaps the most rapid and severe loss of lowland rainforest in history. With this deforestation has come a devastating loss of biodiversity coupled with human disasters caused by typhoon damage and erosion of the vital watersheds. In May 1998 the WOT signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Government to manage the Philippine Owl Conservation Programme by carrying out field surveys to assess species status and distribution along with a review of last remaining habitat quality. A second, vitally important aspect was to try and safeguard endangered species by means of ‘in-situ’ conservation-breeding programmes. To facilitate these programmes the Trust agreed to sponsor the work of the Negros Forests & Ecological Foundation – Biodiversity Conservation Centre (NFEFI-BCC) and in 2003 we helped to set up a breeding programme at BCC for the captive breeding of the largest owl in the Philippines – the highly endangered Philippine Eagle Owl Bubo philippensis which is totally dependent upon lowland rainforest. To date we have managed to create a founder stock of four unrelated pairs, and in 2005 achieved the first ever captive breeding of this owl. In the following years three more owlets have been raised to independence and as the breeding pairs mature we hope to enlarge this population to the point where some individuals can be transferred to the UK for breeding and education purposes, with other captive-bred birds being released into suitable habitats to reinforce the remaining wild populations on Luzon and other areas of their natural range.
In Nepal the Trust has funded a survey managed by Raju Aycharya our Nepalese representative along with Friends of Nature Nepal (FONNEPAL) to assess the status, threats and ethno-ornithological relationship between the local people and owls. The Final Report has now been received and is available here (4.5MB PDF format). This work has led to a further report on the ‘Hunting & Trade of Eurasian Eagle Owls in Nepal’ which we intend to follow up.
One of the most exciting projects ever funded by the WOT has been the installation of a webcam on an Israeli Barn Owl nest set up by Rep. Motti Charter, and this is currently (May 2009) beaming live pictures to researchers and interested individuals in the UK. It can be watched here.
This year’s fieldwork for the Mackinder’s Eagle Owl Bubo capensis mackinderi Project in Kenya was mostly carried out by Darcy Ogada’s assistant Paul Murithi since Darcy needed to be at home for her 15 month-old son. Many of the 16 study pairs bred successfully, but due to the internecine strife which occurred in Kenya in 2008 the research got off to a slow start and a report on the season’s results is still awaited.
In Southern India our representative Arvind Ambudoss resumed his study of the Indian (Rock) Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis after a severe bout of illness. The Trust is currently looking at the possibility of funding an extension to his study area so that Arvind can hopefully locate new pairs of breeding owls and talk to local communities about their conservation.
In Brazil we supplied books to assist Rep. John Beaumont (a British-born conservation biologist) in setting up the Pantanal Institute which aims to improve the welfare and conservation of owls in central-western Brazil and educate the local people by encouraging their active participation in the work of the Institute. By doing so John hopes that positive results will accrue in the shape of enhanced conservation measures for owls both in captivity and on the rainforest/agricultural front. For the past five years John has funded the project personally from his own pocket by setting up a separate business (an English school and science-writing company), but now urgently needs financial help to enable this excellent initiative to develop in the way he envisages. We will therefore be looking at ways in which the Trust can help this worthy cause in a country which still has a wealth of wildlife despite severe deforestation – including many forest-dependent owl species.
For further information on any of the above, please write to the Trust at:
WORLD OWL TRUST
The Owl Centre
Cumbria. CA18 1RQ
Or, via E-mail by clicking: here
|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
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.