Petition to Chair of BBC Trustees, Lord Patten
Dear Chris Patten
We strongly urge the BBC not to close its Wildlife Fund, and to ensure that the Fund can continue to operate effectively in support of threatened species and their habitats at such a critical time for global biodiversity.
The Wildlife Fund is still open and the campaign is gathering pace
Since the BBC Wildlife Fund was established in 2007, it has raised nearly £3 million and supports 87 projects around the world. Many of these involve highly endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino, Siberian tiger and Leatherback turtle – all of which will soon vanish without proper protection.
The Fund also supports projects in the UK and on species that struggle to get recognition but desperately need support such as cuckoos, Bechstein's bat, and raft spiders. Emphasis is placed on developing sustainable solutions which link conservation with the participation and improved well-being of local communities.
The iconic status of the BBC gives its Wildlife Fund a unique potential to raise the profile of conservation across the world. It has been widely acclaimed for its work in the field and there has been general dismay at the news of its intended closure.
The Wildlife Fund has proved highly cost-effective, and 100% of donations received go direct to projects. Savings from closure are likely to be small. Once it is closed, however, there is little chance of another such initiative being developed. The BBC Director General has declared that no further charities are to be created.
The implications of such closure reach beyond the Fund itself. For the BBC, as an organization of global standing, to be seen to effectively turn its back on practical conservation sends the wrong signal to decision takers in governments and other institutions internationally who are deciding how much further to cut budgets for biodiversity during the current financial difficulties.
The BBC has built a wonderful reputation from its world renowned programmes on wildlife. In establishing the Wildlife Fund it recognized the opportunity this provided to give something back – and for millions of its viewers to appreciate the link between these programmes and the urgent need to engage actively in protection of threatened species... while there is still time!
What fate awaits those species and habitats supported by the BBC Wildlife Fund?
- 90% of coral reefs being degraded
- only 40 Amur leopard left in the wild
- the equivalent of 1 football pitch of rainforest felled every 2 seconds
poaching of rhino horn in Africa soaring to new heights in 2011
BBC is a major public corporation which recognizes its global responsibilities.
Let your voice be heard in support of retaining its Wildlife Fund!
Please sign this petition along with members of your family and friends and colleagues
"The BBC Wildlife Fund does a sterling job of direct assistance to critical field programs around the world. It extends the reach of the BBC itself, and demonstrates to their viewers the importance of putting action where your words (and images) are. There are too few examples of this in the world and the BBC Wildlife Fund is one of the best of them. We need it...nature needs it."
John B Gantt Jr.
International Conservation Caucus Foundation
"The BBC Wildlife Fund has earned international respect for the effectiveness of its projects. It’s also been a great ambassador for the BBC itself. It gives viewers exactly what they want -- a direct link between enjoyment and education on the screen and active participation in the field.
Why destroy a win-win situation? Don’t just save the Fund, give it a higher priority!"
WILD Foundation (USA)
"The BBCWF has been an invaluable funder of conservation programmes: it has
been willing to fund essential, ongoing work over a period of years to
protect Critically Endangered species. Meanwhile the pressures on natural
resources and wildlife have become ever greater: with more than one rhino
being poached every day, we could see the all gains of the last 15 years
wiped out. We are deeply concerned that if the BBC axes the BBC Wildlife
Fund, it will send a message to other countries that the UK does not care
about the natural world. Surely the BBC should lead by example, and help
conserve the very creatures that have made its international reputation
through the work of the Natural History Unit?"
Save the Rhino International
"Thanks to the BBC Wildlife Fund we have been able to continue with our work to prevent the extinction of the White-clawed crayfish in South West England. The loss of the BBC Wildlife Fund would have a significant impact on invertebrate conservation as the Trust has made a special effort to not just support big and cuddly wildlife but also the small things that run the world. In addition to the White-clawed crayfish, last year cold water coral reefs, Fen raft spider, Large Blue butterfly, Shining ram's-horn snail and Stag beetle all benefitted from funding from the BBC Wildlife Fund"
Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
"The BBC Wildlife Fund has, in its short history, proved to be a tremendous force for good, not only in supporting valuable conservation initiatives across the globe, but in highlighting the tangible benefits that conservation can bring to rural communities in terms of improving livelihoods and helping to alleviate poverty. The BBCWF has a unique role to play in illuminating the path and to help ensure that future generations enjoy their natural heritage . This legacy is not ours to squander."
Charlie Mayhew MBE
"The BBC Wildlife Fund provided timely and significant support to the partnership between the Marine Conservation Society and Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) in Sri Lanka during difficult times in the country, and, importantly, enabled us to develop a broader sustainability strategy to ensure continuation of the TCP’s vital turtle conservation work. We believe the Fund should remain so that it can continue to make an important contribution to the UK’s commitment to halt the loss of global biodiversity."
Dr. Peter Richardson
MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager
"Support from the BBC Wildlife Fund for coral reef conservation in Sabah, Malaysia will have a lasting impact on the health and future of the reefs in the area, and the people who depend on them. Destructive fishing has caused terrible destruction but with the help of the BBC Wildlife Fund the Marine Conservation Society and Sabah Parks are currently working with local communities to stop this practice and help the reefs recover. The Fund has also helped to rescue endangered giant clams and showcase these amazing animals in an underwater nature trail."
Dr. Liz Wood
MCS Coral Reef Officer
"The BBC Wildlife Fund has helped us take big strides forward in the conservation of one of our rarest bats in the UK. The BBC has a unique role to play in encouraging people to give generously to support wildlife conservation. It is vital that the BBC Wildlife Fund is kept alive at a time in our planet's history when biodiversity is facing its greatest threats."
Bat Conservation Trust
"Innovative forms of conservation communication and funding are desperately needed and the BBC Wildlife Fund is an amazing example. The fund is needed now more than ever before."
Prof Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director, Zoological Society of London
"The BBC Wildlife Fund is uniquely placed to support conservation in the UK and globally. It has achieved a great deal so far, and must be saved. I urge as many as possible to sign this petition."
Conservation Director RSPB (Royal Society for Protection of Birds - a million members)
1999 - 2011
"The BBC Wildlife fund is a wonderful way for the millions of people who enjoy the BBC’s outstanding natural history programmes to contribute to real, urgent conservation projects. In its short life the Fund has made a real difference. Long may it continue."
People's Trust for Endangered Species