So its out there and we have started a new chapter as a charity so what is planned for the near and not to distant future. Its all very cliche saying its a new chapter but that’s precisely what it is, I have to admit that many things have sat in a notebook until we hopefully got the charitable status so now its time to add another cliche and put the money where our notebook is………. maybe I got that cliche wrong?
So top of the list is all the boring stuff like writing new policies, risk assessments, arranging suitable public liability insurance for the things we want to carry out, sorting out a better bank account that works better for the charity and a lot of other hum drum but important bits.
Onto the fun stuff we have several things in the notebook and the diary already, next week we are off to do our first official public talk as Raptor Aid on our work with the Philippine Eagle Foundation and we are pleased to announce we have our next trip planned for the Philippines. In April we will be heading back out to the Philippines to carry out the incredible task of climbing to a wild eagle nest site so that the foundation can fit a GPS transmitter to monitor the chicks progress when it fledge’s. How exciting is it to think that as you read this there is one of the rarest birds of prey in the world rearing its chick 150ft up an emergent tree in the Philippine forest.
Wait how high is that tree!!!! Its OK though last week we managed to prove some of our tree climbing credentials by passing our tree climbing and aerial rescue NPTC assessments so that’s another tick in the box.
We are also going to be pushing forward with our plans to work with schools on various levels, to begin with by offering free school assemblies to engage the children and teachers in bird of prey conservation. We are also trying very hard to get our nest box scheme up and running for schools to take advantage of, this is proving tricky though as its another little baby I’ve nurtured for a long time and it has to be just right before I launch it and we are also relying on other people who we trust and understand in Raptor Aid’s beliefs. We hope that once its right and we are happy the nest box scheme will be one of our flagship conservation projects in the UK which will also spread into global conservation work. The global aspect of schools is our dream of linking school children from around the world to talk about the birds of prey they find in their country and the conservation work carried out by partners and friends of Raptor Aid.
We have a couple of UK projects under wraps that until we seal the deal and get the green light we will keep to ourselves but we can say they will engage people in live bird of prey conservation and education – that’s a promise.
The final area we are working on is the captive bird of prey world and how we can help improve the welfare and ethics of birds of prey being used commercially. Last year we monitored four online UK bird of prey for sale sites and gathered data across 7 months, the data makes for depressing reading and we will publish our finding’s in due course. We are also about to publish our own guidelines for people using birds of prey commercially outside and not covered by the Zoo Licensing act. We have been pleased to see governments in the UK have started to take a stand on the lack of legislation facing the commercial use of animals in general but care needs to be taken to make sure it can be implemented and function properly. We have also been asked to develop a leaflet that can be handed out to the public highlighting good and bad practices of captive birds of prey so we will start that soon. Every week we still get contacted by concerned people who have seen potentially poor welfare or ethical standards involving birds of prey, we try to address these as best we can by contacting the organisers of the event with our advice sheet for booking and using birds of prey.
Along the way we of course need to raise funds to make the work of Raptor Aid possible, no one will be receiving a wage and so all fundraising and donations can go straight into the projects we are working on.