6 Jul 2011

A poll conducted for Chester Zoo’s new conservation campaign, Act for Wildlife, showed that 67 per cent of UK adults believe the average 10-year-old has more interest in technology than wildlife.

But although the overwhelming majority of UK adults – 94 per cent – feel conservation is important, only a small percentage help the cause (15 per cent).

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Director General of Chester Zoo, the organisation behind Act for Wildlife, said the survey proved that there were many ‘armchair conservationists.’

“The survey is a somewhat depressing summary of the world today – that the majority, although they believe conservation is important, are actually far more interested in gadgets.

“But while we are playing with games or chatting to our friends online, somewhere in the world at the same time, a rhino is being poached for its horn or a species is facing the battle for survival in its own territory.

“Act for Wildlife is unique in that we have married the best technological advances with positive action for conservation to create a ground-breaking online community that is taking positive action. Armchair conservationists can now actually make a real difference using the technology that so fascinates them and without having to sacrifice their interests.”

Act for Wildlife, who has television wildlife presenter and veterinary surgeon Steve Leonard as a patron, will support five major projects for orangutans, Asian elephants, black rhinos, threatened birds and UK wildlife.

Act for Wildlife will be run entirely online and supporters who donate to the projects will be able to engage with them, getting updates from the projects and meeting the people working directly at the heart of conservation. Blogs from the field and videos will provide a behind-the-scenes look at what is being achieved.

Dr Pilgrim added: “We’re passionate about protecting all wildlife, now and in to the future. For the first time, through this unique venture, we are able to connect the zoo’s work and the people that support it through social networks. What’s more, the funds that are raised through Act for Wildlife go straight to the projects. There are no hidden administrative costs – every penny raised is a penny for conservation.

“Funds that go into Act for Wildlife will give people the skills and resources to protect their animals and plants and make sure they can continue the zoo’s conservation work in the long term. With updates from the field people will be able to see where their money is going and the real difference it is making.”

Act for Wildlife will enable field workers to tell their story in their own words – but also enable the ‘armchair conservationists’ to do their bit. Every penny raised will go directly into the conservation work.

Michelle Duma, project manager for Act for Wildlife, said: “You don’t have to be a game ranger in Africa to help protect black rhinos. You don’t have to be a community outreach worker is Assam to help communities cope with elephants raiding crops. People can make a difference to conservation from wherever they are.

“Act for Wildlife and its supporters will bring together a community of people whose support will help us to provide these things and more to tackle the real needs of conservation.”

Steve Leonard said Act for Wildlife was a great way for people to get involved with ‘on the ground’ conservation.

He added: “You can really see where your much needed money is going and monitor the progress of these interesting projects as they help animals and people in peril.”


Visit our new website led by Chester Zoo, www.actforwildlife.org.uk and Like Us on Facebook below.