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Madagascar’s forests boosted by record fundraising Birdfair

A record breaking total of £350,000, raised at Birdfair 2016 has been presented to BirdLife International to help fund vital conservation work in Madagascar and Africa.

BirdLife International’s Chief Executive, Patricia Zurita, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Birdfair team and everyone who comes to Birdfair for this fantastic donation. This will support our work in Madagascar as well as training the conservation leaders of the future in Africa.”

This vital support will allow Birdlife Partner, Asity Madagascar to realise their long-term conservation plans for Tsitongambarika Forest.

Rising out of the coastal plain of south-east Madagascar, Tsitongambarika is the only area in the south-east that supports significant areas of lowland forest. These forests are unique even within Madagascar, with flora and fauna quite distinct from lowland forests elsewhere.

Birdfair 2016 will also help the next generation in the countries where Birdfair funds conservation projects: this year African students will receive financial support.

Tim Appleton, Birdfair Manager said: “The first cheque we handed to BirdLife International 28 years ago was for £3,000. It’s amazing that we are now presenting a cheque for £350,000, bringing the total Birdfair has raised for BirdLife to more than £4.3million.”

Birdfair is the world’s first and largest international birdwatching event. It is held annually at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Egleton, and is jointly organised by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.

This year, Birdfair will be raising money for Saving Paradise in the Pacific, to fund BirdLife International’s work to save native birds on the French Polynesian island of Rapa Iti.

Here, invasive non-native rats and goats are decimating populations of native birds. These include the Endangered Rapa fruit dove, along with eleven threatened seabirds like the Rapa shearwater and the local form of white-bellied storm petrel.

Birdfair 2017 will run from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 August. For more information on the event and to buy your tickets online go to www.birdfair.org.uk

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