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It is the beginning of August, and we are just getting our first newsletter out. We have been fortunate to find ourselves busy across all the countries we work in and all projects. We have learned to live with the various pandemic regulations in our home bases of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Angola and the USA - not only did we learn to live with them - but we made the most of them. Since the last newsletter in January, many things have happened that I am excited to share with you. Our flagship project in South Africa, the Cape Parrot Project (CPP), is moving from strength to strength.
Welcome 2022! It has been an important and many times frustrating two years focused generally on team support, strategic planning, partnership negotiation, personal development, organisational strengthening, and some expeditions. While locked down, we focused on making sure that we could hit the ground running! From this strong foundation, we are set up for a decade of conservation impact driven by our shared vision to preserve natural and cultural heritage for local people and the planet.
As I write, our multinational National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project team, or "NGOWP" for short, is preparing for what will be the 11th annual crossing of the Okavango Delta in Ngamiland, northern Botswana. These Okavango Transects were started by Dr. Steve Boyes in September 2010 as a wetland bird survey; Steve wanted to study and observe the distribution and abundance of wetland birds across a repeatable transect into hard to reach parts of the Okavango Delta. The 2010 transect was comprised of just two mekoro, which is the local name for a dug-out canoe, and 4 participants; Steve, a filmmaker from France, and two local polers; Chaps and Gobonamang, or GB as he is known to all of us. GB has since completed every single other Okavango Transect, including participating in all of our expeditions and ifeld trips to the major rivers Angola and Namibia - he's covered somewhere close to 8,000km of the river with us, all in mekoro.
The first quarter of 2021 just flew past! Last year, most of us were locked down in our homes by the COVID-19 pandemic. Planned expeditions, events, meetings and travel were cancelled. The year that never happened. This quarter, the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project team gets to go back into the bush with field trips planned in both Angola and Botswana. The Cape Parrot Project team, on the other hand, all live in Hogsback and were able to get into the forests for crucial monitoring and forest restoration. One of the core values of the Wild Bird Trust is action, getting our hands dirty and connecting with people, wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems in the field.
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