Project History & Aims
Banham Zoo has provided support for a joint British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and World Land Trust (WLT) project since its inception in 2007, contributing a total of £17,500.
This BIAZA / WLT partnership has covered a number of projects over the years:
Keepers of the Wild Ranger Programme
Since it was founded in 1989, WLT has had tremendous success in raising funds to save habitat. But their overseas project partners, in whom the ownership of the land is vested, have the task of protecting the reserves and the wildlife they contain. Protecting all this land puts a strain on our partner organisations. This project, providing rangers to protect the land and carry out field work, aims to help relieve this strain and help our partners to better protect vulnerable habitats.
BIAZA: Buy an Acre
Saving threatened habitats acre by acre, with partner organisations across the world to help fund land purchase and create nature reserves to protect threatened habitats and wildlife.
The initial project (Phases 1 & 2) purchased 1,651 acres of strategically-placed, critically-threatened land in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest to extend the rainforest owned, managed and protected by WLT’s project partner in Brazil, Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA). Money raised by the project also contributed to conserving and protecting the land, wetland habitat restoration, reforestation, species reintroduction, biodiversity monitoring, setting up ecotourism to provide a vital income stream and local education programmes.
The Reserva Ecologica De Guapi Assu Reserve (REGUA) is just two hours from Brazil’s capital Rio de Janeiro. Covering more than 18,000 acres of tropical forest nestled on mountainous slopes, the reserve is home to more than 450 species of birds and more than 60 mammal species, including puma, ocelot, brown-throated three-toed sloth and the critically endangered woolly spider monkey.
From 2010 to 2012, the BIAZA/WLT partnership progressed to Phase 3 – supporting two ‘Keepers of the Wild’ rangers, providing salaries, uniforms and vital equipment to allow them to carry out their work protecting and managing the BIAZA Reserve, wider Guapi Assu Reserve and educating visitors.
In 2013, the BIAZA/WLT partnership widened their fundraising efforts, launching BIAZA Keepers of the Wild, to put more rangers in the field in Armenia, Brazil, Borneo and Mexico, to carry out important conservation work, raise awareness of environmental issues within local communities and protect threatened habitats and wildlife from illegal hunting and logging.
For 2014 the partnership launched the BIAZA Buy an Acre project (Phase 4), fundraising to protect land in the Las Arenitas Reserve, Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Central Mexico, working with WLT’s local conservation partners, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG). The project secured 230 acres to extend this wonderfully diverse reserve. With vegetation including evergreen and deciduous tropical forest, shrubs and cacti, oak forests, pine forests and cloud forests providing homes to over 300 bird species and over 100 mammal species, protecting this habitat is really important.
This ‘Buy an Acre’ project was extended in 2015 to Phase 5, raising funds to purchase a property in northern Argentina.
The location of the property is significant because it protects a wildlife corridor for jaguars and other threatened mammals ranging between the national park to the south and the forest to the north. The purchase of this property will save an important wildlife corridor. The habitat is Yungas cloud forest, which is rich in biodiversity, has not been logged for 35 years and there has been no hunting there for 15 years.
The following species are all known to be present within the property: jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), margay (Leopardus wiedii), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi). The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is likely to occur, but not yet confirmed. Other mammals of note include lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), ring-tailed coati (Nasua nasua), crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous) and brown capuchin (Cebus apella).
Around 583 species of bird occur in the Yungas forest, ranging from the black solitary eagle (Buteogallus solitarius) to the speckled hummingbird (Adelomyia melanogenys). The forest is also a centre for amphibian endemism.
How is Banham Zoo Supporting BIAZA / World Land Trust Project?
Banham Zoo donated £2000 to this project in 2015 and a total of
£17,500 has been donated in the past 9 years.
Photos courtesy of Banham Zoo / BIAZA / World Land Trust.