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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  1. It’s on its way….Planet Earth III!

    Wow, on the 22nd October 2023 at 18:15, Planet Earth III will come onto our screens, with BBC1.  What’s in store?

    Well, rhino rambling down a street looking for something to eat in Nepal – to get food, he has to go through a world that’s new to him

    “The rules of the game [for wildlife] have changed – to survive in the human world.” Sir David Attenborough

    Both people and animals have to learn how to get along if we are to avoid mass extinctions. 

    The 8 episodes cover the planet’s habitats, covering Oceans, Forests, Coasts and Deserts. 

    We’ll see macaques in Bali, stealing goods from tourists – hats, sunglasses, shoes…. and even smartphones!  And the tourists can have them back in exchange for a piece of fruit – or in the case of smartphones, chocolate…

    See the official trailer for BBC's Planet Earth III here.

    There are sea lions off the coast of Chile, gorging on fish caught by fleets – the danger being that they may get caught in nets.

    The smarter the animal, the more it can adapt.  The orcas have perfected their hunting technique, for example, as have mugger crocodiles who have a camouflage hunting technique.   They can lie in wait for hours, having dug out a waterhole and buried themselves in mud, wriggling to cover themselves in vegetation at the water’s edge.  They lie in wait for deer for hours.

    Planet Earth III
    Planet Earth III is available from Hive.co.uk

    And watch out for the white wolf, right on the brink of extinction.  The fear is there may not be any to film the next time.

    And as we have got smarter and developed new technology, so that can help with filming the most amazing footage.  Drones for instance can go anywhere and show us sights we’ve never seen before.  We can see how animals co-operate with each other.  And we see how people live with wildlife, in places such as Uganda where villagers welcome apes, one villager turning part of her garden over to grow wild as a primate haven. 

    Watch out for Planet Earth III on Sunday 22 October on BBC1.  Can’t wait!



    UPDATE on 18 October 2023:  GREAT NEWS!

    The Archers Green Appeal in Hertfordshire has raised the £500,000 it needed to purchase Archers Green! 

    This is thanks to donors from supporters and a very generous legacy.   Working together, we can all make a difference!

    Now, while you're here, how about taking a look at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust appeal?   They are trying to raise £300,000 to buy 83 acres of farmland and create a new nature reserve that will provide new territory for wildlife.  Find out more here.

    Here's the background....

    The Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust are trying to raise £500,000 to buy land which has vulnerable habitats.  The 20 acre site is near Welwyn Garden City and it has wildlife such as the water vole, harebell and skylark.  Water voles are the UK’s fastest declining mammals.

    The funds are needed to pay back a philanthropic loan which was used to take the site off the market.  At the time, the Trust had to act very fast to save the site and stop it falling into “unsympathetic” hands.

    It is vital to protect more land for wildlife and Archers Green flanks a river which is one of only 240 chalk streams in the world – the River Mimram.  The Trust says rivers like this are the UK’s equivalent to tropical rainforest.  It also has grasslands, critical habitat for wildlife. So action had to be taken really fast.

    If the funds aren’t raised, it maybe that the site has to go back on the open market.

    Find out more about the Appeal

    The other key thing about Archers Green is that it sits between the Tewinbury Nature Reserve and Panshager Park.   Wildlife need connected landscapes because these areas enable them to move around and to breed.  So if the funds can be raised, it means that the Trust can ensure the safety of the land for wildlife.

    The Trust points out that the areas has already lost crucial wildlife homes and corridors.  76 species went with that loss, leaving 1,446 under the threat of extinction.

    What will the funds be used for?

    • To pay back the philanthropic loans – this will mean that the site can be taken off the market.
    • To cover initial establishment costs such as fencing installation, tree safety, ash die back mitigation, monitoring activities and livestock grazing.  And to cover the management of the site on a daily basis for up to 20 years.

    If the funds can’t be raised, it may be that the remaining costs can be met from the financial reserves but this would mean taking key funds away from other nature reserves which also need managing and improving.

    We need to save land for wildlife.
    Wildlife need us to help them.

    Visit the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust's website

    View the Trust's You Tube videos


  3. The okapi live in the dense jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

    The opaki is under threat

    Although it is a respected cultural symbol of the DRC (have had protect status since 1933), the opaki is threatened by human activities: slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal gold mining, logging, encroachment from human settlement and bush-meat poaching.

    Enter the Opaki Conservation Project

    Enter the Opaki Conservation Project which works to protect the natural habitat of the opaki and indigenous Mbuti pygmies who lives in the Opaki Wildlife Reserve.  It also looks to promote the species around the world.

    The reserve itself is a designated World Heritage Site.  It sits within the Ituri Forest, and it encompasses 13,700 square kilometres. As well as the opaki, it is home to animals such as forest elephants, chimpanzees, 13 species of primates, leopards, bongo antelopes and a huge variety of birds and insects. 

    OpakiConservation undertakes wildlife protection, community assistance and conservation education. For instance, it has IUCN eco-guards to collect snares, evict miners, pursue and detain poachers, monitor agricultural expansion and biodiversity.  This is all aimed to protect, manage and secure the Opaki Wildlife Reserve  so that future generations can benefit from its vibrant forest ecosystem.

    And it provides rations for forest patrols and support, and it helps educate communiteis so that they are aware of the Reserve's regulations and protects them, too.  The opaki is an important symbol of their national heritage. 

    World Opaki Day’s aims

    World Opaki Day on 18 October 2023 celebrates the opaki – it raises awareness of it as many people have never heard of an opaki.   You can find out more about the opaki here. 

    And crucially, the opaki acts as a flagship species to protect the forest ecosystem where it resides.   

    There are activities around the villages in the reserve and they are combined to educate local communities and protect the opaki.

    Visit the OpakiConservation's You Tube Channel here

    Things we can do on World Okapi Day:

    1.  Follow the day on social media and tell people about okapis.  Here are the hashtags and links:

    Facebook: @okapiconservationproject

    Instagram: @okapiconservation

    Twitter: @okapiproject

    Hashtags: #WorldOkapiDay #WOD2023 #OkapiConservation #JourneeMondialedelOkapi

    2.   Recycle your own mobile phone.  Did you know that a cell/mobile phones have coltan?  It’s a mineral mined in the DRC forests, so if you recycle your phone it means less mining in the forest.

    3.   Put okapi photos on social media, using the hashtags hashtags #OkapiConservation and #WorldOkapiDay

    4.  You could also donate to the Okapi Conservation Project – all proceeds go to help protect okapi and its habitat.

    5.  Watch okapi videos!   

    Visit the Okapi Conservation Project here - you can read their latest update from the field (Sept 2023) here



  4. EXCITING NEWS October 2023 - Read on!

    There's very exciting news from Reteti this October.   They are about to have their fourth release in 7 years of elephants, into the wild!  This is a huge achievement, not only for the keepers who have done so much to care for the elephants - but for the elephants themselves, who arrived with the odds stacked against them. 

    13 elephants will be released into two carefully selected, Kenya Wildlife Service-approved release sites within Namunyak Conservancy – where Reteti is located too.  Not only that, the keepers will have make-shift accommodation so that they can look after the elephants as they get used to being in the wild.  And Reteti's partners, Save the Elephants, will monitor them too. 

    Read all about it here. 

    UPDATE April 2023 - The Borehole Project

    There's good news from the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya with their borehole project.

    Firstly, the drilling team have hit water in their borehole after drilling 256 metres.  This has two important results:  the Sanctuary has the start of a reliable, permanent water source for orphaned elehants, and it will enable the re-wilding of orphans directly from the sanctuary and into the Namunyak Conservancy.  Wild elephants will come to the water and that will mean the orphans can interact with them daily, leading to their slow and steady ingegration into the wild, either with new herds or as an orphan herd!   Read their blog about it here

    Secondly, it's rained!  The elephants were out on a walk when the April rains arrived - hooray!

    Late September 2023
    Meet Naisimari, the newst and smallest member of the Reteti Foster Family!
    She is particularly fluffy and hairy.
    Reteti rescued her when she fell into a well...

    Meet Naisimari, the newst and smallest member of the Reteti Foster Family!
     Why not adopt her, and support the work of the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary?
    Adopt Naisimari here.

    Introducing the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary's borehole project

    The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is based in Kenya and it takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves. The aim is to release them back into the wild herts adjoining Retiti.

    The keepers caring for the elephants have all been trained in the care, rehabilitation and release of elephant calves.  They are recruited from the Namunyak Conservancy and they all have a deep respect for elephants.  You can meet some of the keepers here.

    You can meet some of the elephants here – they are orphaned or abandoned because of drought, man-made wells, human-wildlife conflict and natural mortality.  It was the local community who wanted the Sanctuary.

    The background...

    Help the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary Build a Borehole

    The Reteiti Elephant Sanctuary is trying to Build a Borehole which can give the elephants it cares for a supply of water, even during the driest of seasons.

    Help Build a Borehole here

    The sanctuary uses 20,000 litres of water a day and it has been acquiring this water from a spring in the Matthews Mountains through a pipeline of 16 kilometres that the Sanctuary has built.

    The start of building the borehole for the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

    However, with the help of hydrology experts, the Sanctuary has identified an aquifer close to the sanctuary which is suitable for a borehole.   They’ve drilled 200m already and need to drill to a depth of 250m to reach the water table.  The pipeline only has to be 1.5 km long to reach the Sanctuary from the borehole.

    The cost of implementing all of this is just over $20,000 American dollars for the drilling and $18,246 for the pump and pipeline.  The Sanctuary is currently short by $6,294 dollars so it is asking for contributions so that the project can be done for the elephants.

    Help the Sanctuary give the elephants a sustainable source of water
    Please help the Sanctuary give the elephants a sustainable source of water!
    They are so close!  
    Image ©LouAnne Brickhouse

    The Sanctuary wants to establish a permanent, sustainable way to ensure the elephants have the water they need. 

    You can also help by

    • Adopting an elephant – adoptions are for a year.
    • Gifting them a bottle of milk  - the video shows how much they adore it! Each elephant drinks about 8 bottles of milk a day, generally goats milk.  The elephants have a feed about every 3 hours and between feeds, the keepers take them on bush walks so that they can learn to browse, navigate and get used to the landscape.
    • Donate
    • Visiting the Sanctuary!
    • As always, spreading the word about it.

    Visit the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary's website here



    The French have introduced a new lottery!

    Called the ‘Loto de la biodiversité’, its aim is to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of French wildlife.

    It’s a scratch card game and it offers players the chance to win up to €30,000 for €3 a card. There are up to 15 million scratch cards available

    About 0.43 euros per card sold will be directed to the Office Français de la Biodiversité

    The French Biodiversity Agency is dedicated to the protection and restoration of biodiversity, both in France and its overseas territories.

    The lottery will debut on 23 October and it will be available at tobacconists in France.

    France already has a Heritage lottery which has funded restoration projects for over 745 heritage sites in France since it started back in 2018. So the French government are hoping that this new biodiversity lottery will be as successful! The hope is that it will generate €6.5m in revenue soon after the launch.

    The Office Français de la Biodiversité is going to be distributing the funds out to nature conservation projects, and so far over 60 charities have applied for grants. A committee will decide on who gets awards, and these will range from €50,000 euros to €1 million.

    One of the aims behind this new lottery is to make people aware of the challenges in protecting and restoring natural habitats, and to make biodiversity more accessible.

    Good luck to everyone buying a ticket! Perhaps more countries can follow suit?

    A French jackpot lottery winner created a fund to protect the environment. (April 2022)