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June 2014
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In this edition read about our winners:
  • Starring in a BBC2 documentary airing tonight
  • Securing a Protected Area in Guatemala
  • Discovering a new species of snail in Croatia 
  • Achieving more international recognition

Whitley Gold Award winner stars in documentary on BBC2 tonight!

Rodrigo Medellin on BBC2
Tonight on BBC2 (UK), WFN trustee Sir David Attenborough narrates a Natural World documentary, telling the story of Whitley Gold Award winner, Rodrigo Medellin and his groundbreaking work to conserve Mexico's bats - work that has lead him to become known as the country's very own 'Bat Man'! The programme follows Rodrigo as he tracks lesser long-nosed bats on their epic 1,000 mile migration from southern Mexico to the US border, uncovering the important roles that bats play in the ecosystem and the many services they provide - including as pollinators of the agave plant, the main ingredient of tequila! 

Don't miss "The Bat Man of Mexico" tonight, Friday 13th June on BBC2 at 9pm or catch up on iPlayer - Watch the trailer now!

New Protected Area for Guatemala - 1st in over 7 years! 

The Sierra Caral Protected Area will stengthen protection of many rare and endemic amphibians
In May, the National Congress of Guatemala declared the Sierra Caral cloud forest as a Protected Area. This success is thanks largely to the work of 2012 Whitley Award winner, Carlos Vasquez Almazan, who has rallied local support and gathered scientific information to secure the protection of the Sierra Caral and the unique amphibians that live there.

The new reserve is the first Protected Area to be declared by Guatemalan congress in over seven years. It covers 190 square kilometres and will strengthen the conservation of 10 endangered amphibian species, as well as providing a critical refuge to 120 species of migratory birds. 

Croatian snail in top 10 new species of 2014

Domed land snail 2
A species of snail, recently discovered in the caves of western Croatia by 2011 Whitley Award winner Jana Bedek, has been selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration as one of the top 10 species new to science discovered in the past year. The Domed Land Snail (Zospeum tholussum) lives in complete darkness at depths of up to 3,000 feet. It has no eyes, almost no pigmentation and measures just 2mm in length!

Jana and her team at the Croatian Biospeleogical Society carry out research and conservation projects to protect the subterranean karst habitats of the Dinaric Arc, where this miniature snail is found. Jana's work builds awareness and strengthens protection of important caves and underground rivers which are threatened by pollution and development but are often overlooked.

Further international recognition for our winners
Zafer and Shivani

2013 winner Zafer Kizilkaya and his NGO, the Mediterranean Conservation Society are winners of the 2014 Equator Prize, awarded by the UN.  Zafer  and his team have been recognised for their work to involve local fishing communities in the management of a network of marine protected areas in Gokova Bay, southeastern Turkey, and will receive a $5,000 grant. Zafer is one of only 35 winners in 2014, selected from 1,234 entries from 121 countries.

Meanwhile, Shivani Bhalla has followed up her 2014 Whitley Award success by being named as an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic.  Shivani's prize includes a $10,000 award in support of her outstanding work conserving the lions of northern Kenya with her NGO, Ewaso Lions. The Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and funds uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists and innovators who are at the forefront of discovery, adventure and global problem-solving while still early in their careers.


Whitley Awards Ceremony raises almost £87,000!

This year's Whitley Awards Ceremony, held on May 8th at London's Royal Geographical Society, was attended by over 400 guests, including WFN trustee, Sir David Attenborough. The event has raised £86,695 to further support the work of our winners - so a big thank you to all  of you who generously donated! You can watch a short highlights film of the ceremony on our website as well as see the speeches from the winners, WFN Founder, Edward Whitley and patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

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Every penny we give in funding is raised through donations with 85% or more of each donation going directly to fund conservation work on the ground. Please give generously and help us to continue to support our winners and their amazing projects.

Pro Bono legal support for Whitley Award winners

Thomson Reuters logo 2WFN has partnered with the Thomson Reuters Foundation to give Whitley Award winners access to free legal assistance in over 150 countries through the TrustLaw Connect programme. This exciting initiative links charities, NGOs and social enterprises with top lawyers around the world who have signed on to provide their expertise for free.

Application for the 2015 Whitley Awards

Application for the 2015 Whitley Awards will open in August with the deadline for submission on 31st October. Application forms and eligibility criteria will be available from the WFN website

Whitley Fund for Nature is a fund-raising and grant-giving nature conservation charity that offers recognition, training and funding to support the work of proven grassroots conservation leaders in developing countries. 

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