Whitley Wonders in Haiti and Ecuador (Awards)

By JW Dowey - 10 May 2014 11:50:0 GMT
Whitley Wonders in Haiti and Ecuador	(Awards)

This wonderful bird and its unique habitat within the rain forest is threatened by roads and overwhelming development over its whole living space. The only light at the end of the Chocó tunnel is the work of one woman, Maria Gonzalez; Credit: © Whitley Awards

It's worth taking a moment out of individual species conservation and cimate changes, to consider this year's WFN Whitley Awards for Nature, funded by their usual, numerous donors. For 20 years they have represented worldwide interests in conservation, both of habitat and species, funding local people's action rather than vast international organisations.

The whole assembly of elephant, lion and world's rarest crocodile conservation, throughout Asia, Africa and South America are encompassed this year by the numerous awards. They spring from a font of real money whose flow can be continued if the project needs to double its focus, for example, in future years. With good accounting, this could well be the future for any efforts to keep back the tide of extinction and habitat loss. Dealing with such nuisance at its source always seems more efficient than attempting to "send in the troops."

With many choices to make, we can only cover 2 of these remarkable people today. Give a yell on Facebook if you would like Earth Times to write up more incredible WFN award winners. The local knowledge and able leadership of Jean Weiner led to his gold award for creating artificial reefs to help aid the recovery of Haitian fish stocks, whilst mooring buoys have been installed to reduce anchor damage to corals.

He organised replanting of critical mangrove trees and explored the alternatives to charcoal production for fuel. His team now aims to increase the options for income generation to alleviate Haitian poverty and to designate Haiti's first marine reserve, co-managed by local stakeholders. What an achievement after the terrible earthquake!

This is an Attenborough narrated video explaining how Jean has created worthwhile progress in a country with 80% of people on the poverty line; Credit: © Whitey Fund For Nature

The American situation was further covered ,in preserving the Ecuadorian Chocó rainforest habitats of the umbrella bird, Cephalopterus penduliger, by Monica Gonzalez. She works within the Mache-Chindul Reserve and outside it, combatting the effects of a projected highway that will cut the reserve in half. Already 96% of this bird's habitat in South America has gone!

The education and empowering of local people is probably more urgent in South America than anywhere else. In addition, the bird species is, of course ,symbolic of local natural biodiversity, as primates and felids are remarkable here, and it looks likely we will lose them. Local leaders and others have successfully laid the foundations of a successful recovery of some of the forest, possibly to be scuppered by this new road and industrial developments.

All our Whitley Award winners from Haiti, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Cuba, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Kenya are to be found in - Whitley Award Winners.