With spring now in full force and bird activity at an all time high, we decided that this would be the perfect time for some community and conservation work in South Africa. Glen Valentine led an extremely successful bird guide training course for a group of local guides on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The two-day workshop was sponsored and run by Rockjumper Birding Tours through funds created by our conservation fund, which has been in operation for several years and has contributed immensely towards the development of upcoming local guides in under-developed countries. Simulated guiding walks, bird identification training along with presentations and lectures on guiding made up the basis of the program. The training was focused around the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, a lowland forest site on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape that harbours several exciting species of birds and mammals such as endemic Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler, Chorister Robin-Chat and Blue Duiker. Not only was the workshop very informative and educational for the developing guides but it also amounted in a great deal of fun for all involved. We are happy to have been the force behind this project and through our conservation and development efforts, we will continue to support, train and fund inspiring local guides throughout the world.
In addition to this, Rockjumper continued to support several important conservation projects, including India’s Tiger Patrol Project, Ethiopian Wildlife Fund’s White-winged Flufftail project – where we helped rebuild a community school, conservation projects with the Africa and Oriental Bird Clubs, The Ben de Boer Conservation Fund, the Sustaining the Wild Coast Fund and the Wakkerstroom Bald Ibis Project.
As part of our ongoing efforts to support the development of community bird guides, we will be distributing 10 pairs of CPC binoculars to guides in need of optics. Rockjumper Birding Tours also became an official BirdLife International Species Champion, which means we now support the conservation of threatened bird species locally and internationally through the conservation efforts of BirdLife International.
We commend all of the above-mentioned organisations and projects for the extremely important conservation work that they carry out, and we will continue to strongly support conservation in 2010.