DTI001 16_08_17

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Conservation through technology?

Writing for Cage & Aviary Birds as I have for more than six years now, I've found that while news about imminent extinction of bird species is a weekly phenomenon, there is also a growing number of stories that highlight conservation success. This week the news that the World Land Trust has once again purchased more than 500 acres of land in Colombia to add to the helmeted curassow reserve is good news not only for bird lovers but for the people of Colombia. And this story is not unique, throughout 2012 we covered several stories – notably in South America – where worldwide conservation groups were successful in raising funds and then visibly using those funds to safeguard habitat for ever. A further illustration, this week again, the World Parrot Trust, in a matter of a couple of months raised £46,000 which will now be matched by institutional donors and will go towards saving three vulnerable parrot species including the yellow-crested cockatoo.

This work is not only vital, it's also uplifting – particularly for bird journalists – and also for everyone who loves birds and fears that the march of mankind and our growing world population is set to eradicate many other species on the planet. One factor that appears to have made a huge difference in creating awareness of conservation issues and then enabling the raising of funds to support solutions to those issues, is new technology. I'd be the first person to bemoan the moronic nature of mobile phone addiction and computer obsession among my peers, but equally I'll be the first to hale the power of the internet and social networking when extra-governmental action is required. The greater inter-connectivity we all now enjoy across the planet has made it a whole lot easier for like-minded people to not only find each other, but communicate and gain momentum in campaigning issues. Prior to the internet can you imagine the rest of the world even knowing the need to maintain the incredible bird species biodiversity in Colombia? Occasionally there would be TV programmes highlighting issues, but now we have webcams, emails and electronic links that bind us all together.

So as a note to myself, the next time I curse another commuter walking out of Charing Cross station bumping into me because they were looking at their phone and not looking where they were going, I should remind myself that that phone could be helping to save a few birds. 

Hasta la vista...

Nick Westsignature-rob

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