Our blog & news: Get involved to help wildlife


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." 
Margaret Mead, American anthropologist, 1901-1978

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    I love the charity Free the Bears.  They are an Australian wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization and they work with local communities and governments in Asia to help sun bears, moon bears (Asiatic black bears) and sloth bears.  

    So they need protecting.

    As governments work to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, so Free the Bears has more to do, rescuing bears who have been held captive for bear bile farming, educating the public, looking after the bears they have rescued – so far 950 in all.  As more bear bile farms close and Free the Bears rescue those bears, so they need to build more enclosures.   These bears have been captive, in some cases for a very long time.  They cannot go into the wild upon release – they need gentle, loving and knowledgeable expert care, sometimes for ever.

    Free the Bears rescue 18 bear cubs in Laos!

    Free the Bears' government partners in Vientiane in Laos had captured a major wildlife tracker.   And 17 orphaned endangered bear cubs were in his possession.  Tragically, one of them had already died.  Free the Bears went to the rescue



    These bears have bear necessities

    • They need a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, with dog biscuits for protein and also pulses and grains
    • They are clever so they need a variety of enrichment activities to stimulate their minds
    • They love to have their own space so they have climbing platforms and hammocks – most bears don’t see other bears in the forest;  they are very private
    • Many of the bears need veterinary care, some for a while.  Remember that many have been used for bear bile farming – a needle has been injected into their gallbladders to access their bile whilst the bears have been drugged
    • Their enclosures have an environment that’s as near as possible to the natural habitat the bears would normally enjoy – these enclosures need maintaining.

     Of course, this all costs. Donations help Free the Bears do these things:

    • Give immediate medical attention and care to the orphaned cubs
    • Procure essential supplies – food, medication, specialised equipment
    • Support on-going conservation efforts to protect both bears and their habitats in the years ahead.

    This bear cub was rescued in March 2023.

    Free the Bears need help! 

    There are a number of ways you can help care for the bears in the care of Free the Bears:  

    • Be a bear carer – there are different levels available from £5.00 a month. 
    • Sponsor a bear (£240 for a year)
    • Send a gift to the bears such as a jar of honey, a hammock, a climbing frame, a cub care kit donation, a bathing pool donation, a treat ball donation
    • Send a gift for a bear lover to your human!
    • Simply donate!
    • Take part in Night in a Cage on 13th April 2024 (or a night to suit you in April 2024) and raise funds for Free the Bears - or you could sponsor someone who is doing it.   

    It's time for A Night in a Cage!

    This is a great fundraiser - and a really important one - to help Free the Bears care for the bears they have rescued.  In the case of the 18 bear cubs just rescued, the estimated cost of caring for them over their life times is $50,000.  

    The CEO of Free the Bears, Matt Hunt, the charity's incredible founder, Mary Hutton OAM, and bear carers around the world will be spending the night in a cage to raise awareness of the plight of endangered sun bears and moon bears.  

    Now, if you've only just heard about A Night in a Cage and would love to do the challenge, you can do it any time in April - so you can choose a night in April that suits you.  

    Whatever you do, please do something to help.  Find out all about it here

    More about sun bears

    Sun bears are the smallest of all bears, but they have a tongue which is 30cm long (that’s a foot!), huge paws and a sun-shaped patch on their chest which gives them their name. 

    Sun bears are excellent climbers – they live in tropical forests in South East Asia.  There they spend more time than other bears in trees, and make nests there.  They are crucial for seed dispersal and  pest control. The problem sun bears have is that they have lost 60% of their land due to habitat destruction and over-exploitation.  Not only that, they are hunted for their paws and their gallbladders – these are sold on the black market. 


    Send rescued bears a pot of honey!
    Send rescued bears a pot of honey for £11.00
    Image ©Free the Bears

    The bears need us all to act.  They have been rescued and they need our help to ensure they get all the wonderful loving care and attention they need for the rest of their lives.

    Visit Free the Bears' website here.



    Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have a new appeal, Common Farm, and the goal was to raise £300,000 by 30th November 2023. 

    Update on 18 March 2024:  SUCCESS!!!

    Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to say that they could officially announce they'd completed on the purchase of Common Farm!!!  

    Over 2,000 donated to the appeal (only launched last October), contirbuting nearly £300,000 to the purchase.  Major donors and philanthropic organisations gave the rest of the funding needed to secure the site.  Locals have been critical to the success of the appeal, organising walking tours for potential donors, delivering leaflets, donating and encouraging people to get involved.  And the Trust is working closely with the community to develop the site as a great place for people and nature.  

    This is great news, well done Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and to everyone involved!

    The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust want to re-wild 83 acres, creating vibrant habitat for wildlife

    The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust want to re-wild 83 acres,
    creating vibrant habitat for wildlife

    It’s made up of 18 sheep-grazed grassland fields which the Trust is going to transform into a wildlife reserve.  The team will make every field count, as they make the most of the different types of habitat;  they will re-wet the land, by filling in ditches, as drainage ditches flush vital rainwater from the site.  Blocking or filling them in will create pools by filling in the ditches to re-wet  the land. 

    As the land gets wetter, so trees and vegetation and wildlife will benefit. And cattle and ponies may come in as grazers, their manure enriching the soil and their grazing stopping trees from becoming dominant.

    Please find out more and donate here
    Please find out more and donate here

    The project should form a diverse habitat – woodland expansion, scrubby thickets and open grassland that are species-rich and will benefit barn owls and skylarks and curlew, as well as plants such as the ragged robin and harebell.  This will give a new territory to wildlife – native plants and animals will thrive – hopefully within a year!

    Please find out more and donate here.

    Images copyright Derbyshire Wildlife Trust



    Back in February 2023, the BBC’s Panaroma did a programme called Is the Cloud damaging the planet?”  Reporter Richard Bilton investigated the question.

    Cloud stores our pictures and emails and it powers our internet searches.  It enables us to stream movies and box sets.  So far, that’s great. 

    The problem with digital pollution

    The problem is that it depends on huge data centres which use huge amounts of power and water – so every time you and I go online, that increases our carbon footprint.

    Then there’s all the emails you don’t need or want, duplicates of photos and videos, files and apps you’ve got but don’t use. Cloud stores them and needs energy to do it.

    It all creates a type of pollution called digital pollution, and it consumes energy – even when we don’t think of it or use it.  It just sits there, consuming electricity, forgotten and all too often unnecessary.

    And yet, when we think of carbon emissions, we tend to think of things such as farting cows, car journeys, dirty factories, planes in the sky, and all that sort of thing.  How many of us think of digital pollution and the damage it does?

    Let's get deleting!

    Delete your unnecessary stuff and there are a number of advantages such as, we can extend the life of our gadgets, and we pollute less and help the environment.

    Plus, it gives you a feeling of control of your digital stuff.  I’ve just spent a 30 minutes deleting a lot of stuff from my phone – old messages, three pictures taken of the cat because she kept moving her head when only one was any good, photos sent of things I no longer want or need.  And my phone seems to have a new lease of life and burst of energy as a result of it.  I’ve cleared a lot of rubbish to create more space.

    A date for your diary!

    Now there is an event in March (on the 16th) which gives you the chance to do your own digital de-tox, or you could make a start whilst waiting for something, or someone.

    It’s the Digital Cleanup Day and its on 16th March 2024.  It’s a really good opportunity to raise awareness of digital pollution – most of us wouldn’t even think of it.  Clean up your data stored in i-Cloud such as files, pictures and videos, your mobile phone, and social media accounts.  And take a look at your email account. Often it’s a good chance to see if you can get better organised with it all, too – which will help with the general organisation and running of life.  Why not have a digital clean up party and see who can delete the most?!

    So there are four things to do:

    1. Clean up your smartphone
    2. Clean up your computer hard drive
    3. Clean up your mailbox
    4. Make new arrangements and do things in a different way - there are lots of ideas on the website
    5. You could share your results - you'll need to register to do that

     Visit Digital Cleanup Day 2024 here.



    Have you discovered a bee on the floor who looks like they are struggling?  What do you do to help?

    The RSPB says that if you come across a struggling bee, you should place them safely on a bee-friendly flower - but if there aren't any flowers close by, or the flowers have been drained by nectar by other bees , then a boost of a sugar solution can help the bee find their way to a flower that is full of nectar.  

    Take a look at the Beevive revival kit keyring here.

    Well, help is at hand with bee revival kits from Beevive!  The one below is and above, available from the RSPB, is pre-filled with ambrosia® syrup in a small aluminium vial, and it also somes with 5+ uses which are refillable from home - you just follow the instructions.  

    You can find out more and buy a kit here from the RSPB

    Beevive started in 2018, when three friends met a very tired bee, and so created the Bee Revival Kit.  They've since visited schools, hosted workshops and collaborated with businesses to spread the word about how important bees are. 

    Of course, one of the great things we can all do to help bees is to plant flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.  

    Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has a "Go Potty" campaign to encourage us to do that - you just need a pot to go potty with!  Find out all about it here.





    So after the incredible success of previous events (see below), the World Land Trust's Big March Fortnight 2023 kicked off on the 11th October 2023.

    The appeal was Columbia's Forests of Mist AppealAnd the aim is to secure a future for one of the threatened cloud forests in Columbia.

    UPDATE on 16 February 2024:   £1.15 MILLION has been raised for this project!  SUCCESS!!   Find out more here

    Columbia has some of the largest cloud forest areas in Latin America – and yet it has just 10 to 20% of its original cloud forests remaining.

    Since 2007, Fundación Guanacas has protected 850 hectares of habitat here.  It is a partner of the UK based World Land Trust, who work to support conservation groups around the world.  You can visit the website of Fundación Guanacas here.

    The Columbia Forests of Mist appeal will:

    1. Extend the protected area of land by 181 hectares
      This will mean 1,031 hectares are protected – the ecosystem is threatened by agricultural activity. Pumas roam here – they are safe from human conflict and illegal hunting, but the encroachment of agricultural land could change all this. Without this land purchase, the area could be bought up and used for livestock – and that will make forest fragmentation worse.

    2. Restore 100 hectares of essential cloud forest habitat
      This will be done by planting 36,500 native tree species between 2023 and 2028.  It will reconnect fragmented forests for animals such as the puma, the ocelot and Northern oncilla so that they can move safely, rest and feed.  The pumas’ presence and condition will be monitored by the forest rangers, using camera traps to see what the pumas are up to, and rehabilitated wildlife will be released in the area, too.

    3. Protect habitat of 665 species. 
      15 species are on the IUCN Red List so this project is giving them a lifeline.   Species such as the  Antioquia Brushfinch are here – this species was once thought to be extinct – and so is the Antioquia Chocolate Frog, a tree frog found in northwestern Columbia alone.  This frog needs the torrents and puddles that the damp terrain provides. But a successful appeal will help:
      • 28 Amphibians, of which 3 are threatened species. 
      • 443 birds, of which 6 are threatened species
      • 148 mammals of which 4 are threatened species
      • 46 reptiles – 2 species are threatened
      • Over 250 plant species.  These include 120 recorded orchid species and the area also has the world’s tallest palm tree!

    4. Ensure the health and security of very important water cycles
    Wildlife and local people depend on these, as the cloud forest captures, stores and releases water downstream.

    5. Offer livelihoods to local people through ecotourism and conservation jobs. 
    Nine cabins will be built to host guests, for example, and ecotourism activities will be developed with local communities.   Three forest ranger positions will be held by local people for the first three years of the project and their role will be to plant and nurture trees, monitor camera traps and accompany visitors to the reserve

    The Antioquia Brushfinch is one of the species
    who need this appeal to succeed.

    This is an exciting and important opportunity to support Fundación Guanacas, a partner of the World Land Trust, to expand its Guanacas Reserve which has one of the only cloud forests in its Antioquia region.  Fundación Guanacas needs funds to save land that would suffer deforestation and soil degradation if it were not saved and restored.

    Please support this appeal if you can!

    All about the World Land Trust:

    The World Land Trust is an amazing charity based in the UK, (HQ in Suffolk).  It focuses specifically on conserving threatened habitats and it does this through raising funds for land purchase.  It goes down this route with considerable care, and the land is purchased, protected and managed by local partner organisations. Thus is has the ability to respond swiftly when lands are under threat of destruction.

    So far, the World Land Trust has protected 2,409,420 acres, and planted 2,457,900 trees.   It works in countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, the UK, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Paraguay, India, Guatemala – and lots more!  View their projects here

    It raises some of these funds through a Buy an Acre scheme – a £100 donation can buy an acre of land and protect it for wildlife in perpetuity.  You can also donate (one off or monthly) to the Action Fund which is used to for funds to enable the Trust to respond fast where action is needed, be it to extend and safeguard existing reserves or fight fires, or make sure that the reserves are protected by experienced rangers.

    Every year, the World Land Trust has a huge appeal in the autumn.  It's called Big Match Fortnight...

    All about previous Big Match Fortnights

    In 2022, this appeal was a real opportunity to save Ecuador’s incredible Río Anzu and Río Zúñac forests!  The Life of the Edge appeal launched in October 2022 reached its £1,430,000 target!  Everyone who donated has enabled the World Land Trust's partner  – Foundación EcoMinga – to DOUBLE the size of the Anzu and Zúñac reserves in Ecuador’s upper Río Pastaza watershed.  Read all about it HERE

    Along with donations from EcoMinga’sother supporters, the World Land Trust’s partner would be able to safeguard 5,1234 acres across both reserves, patrolled by the World Land Trust funded Keepers of the Wild.  And – very exciting – they will be linked to a 1.6 MILLION hectare protected network.  

    In 2021, the Trust aimed to raise £1.2 million for the Guardians of Nimla Ha’ – one of their most ambitious appeals to date.  An incredible £1.37 million was raised which enabled the Trust’s partner in Guatemala, FUNDAECO, to complete the purchase to TRIPLE the size of their Laguna Grande Reserve, home to over 700 species.  Manatees, ocelots, 357 bird species, primates, Jaguars, Margays will all be much safer thanks to this purchase.   The reserve tripled in size from 1,668 to nearly 5,000 acres.  Find out more about the Guardians of Nimla ‘Ha appeal here.

    We need to buy these habitats to protect them.  Let conservation be the victor here, not extraction and destruction

    Together we can all make this happen.  Every single donation will make a difference.

    The wildlife need us.   Please let’s take action and donate and/or spread the word!

    We can act as individuals by donating and spreading the word and being a part of a something really important and terrific.  By pulling together, we can power through this appeal and help protect wildlife.

    Visit the World Land Trust’s website for updates and to donate