Thursday, 17 January 2013

Azores Bullfinch crowdfunding campaign

Azores Bullfinch: still classified as Endangered by the IUCN.
As a regular visitor to the Azores and a long-standing supporter of the campaign to ensure a future for the endemic and endangered Azores Bullfinch, I am well aware of the problem of securing funding for long-term field conservation. Back in 2008, in support of BirdLife International, I was delighted to help with  fundraising for the Priolo, as it is known in the islands, and at Birdwatch we pushed the cause strongly in our role as a BirdLife Species Champion. That initiative resulted in most of more than £51,000 raised by the magazine being contributed to the cause, but with a project on this scale money runs out quickly and now the time has come to renew the effort.
Azores Bullfinch habitat: Serra da Tronquiera, São Miguel, with native laurel scrub  and alien Japanese Red Cedars.
SPEA, BirdLife's partner in Portugal, has just launched a campaign to support Azores Bullfinch conservation work using the 'crowdfunding' website Indiegogo. Normally used to generate finance for projects such as independent films, crowdfunding could well succeed as an innovative way to reach out to the public globally to help finance local conservation work.

Interpretative display at the Priolo Centre, an important education resource, on São Miguel.
The new SPEA crowdfunding campaign is simply entitled 'Let’s save the Azores Bullfinch' and runs only until the end of February 2013. In that time it aims to raise at least $28,000 for the continuation of the work needed to avoid the decline of this endangered species. This amount will contribute to mantaining the 22-strong project team who continue the effort to restore the species’ habitat, controlling invasive plants and re-establishing the native Azorean flora on which this once-common endemic bird depends. Donations are welcome through, and according to the amount given donors will receive a range of benefits, from sponsoring a native plant right up to a one-day guided tour to see the area under restoration and, hopefully, the species. Please give generously!

Read press release

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