12 October 2011

BBC Wildlife Fund Action Update

Froglife’s Liam Atherton issues a call to action to help prevent cuts to vital funding for conservation.

Back in July, Froglife appealed to supporters to sign a petition against the proposed closure of the BBC’s Wildlife Fund. The fund, which currently supports 87 UK and international wildlife conservation projects, has injected nearly £3 million into schemes which aim to protect some of the world’s most endangered species, such as the leatherback turtle.

At the time Froglife joined a host of esteemed signatories in an official letter of protest to the BBC coordinated by Chris Mahon. Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC has replied, and the BBC is currently sticking to its guns in bringing their conservation funding to an end. However, public opposition to the closure of the fund continues.

“The reaction of conservation organizations so far to this response from the BBC has been an even stronger determination to prevent closure of the Fund,” says Chris, Coordinator for the Save the BBC Wildlife Fund Advisory Group. “Together we can halt this closure with its tragic loss of funding and publicity for the conservation sector.”

In essence the charitable fund, whose administration expenses are paid by tax rebate on donations, not the BBC itself, is being wound down purely because of the withdrawal of BBC support for broadcast appeals. There is no argument in the response citing cost savings, rather a change in BBC philosophy to “doing fewer things better.”

This might seem reasonable were it not for the fact that conservation is already one of the least funded causes. With ongoing declines and global species extinction estimates somewhere between 100-1000 times the background level, and a staggering 1 in 3 amphibians and 1 in 4 mammals threatened with extinction, no well-minded individual could dispute that global conservation should be considered one of the “fewer things” that absolutely needs to be done better.

So perhaps as expected at this stage in the campaign, the BBC has not slammed the brakes on their proposals, but rest assured, the bell has yet to ring on this fight. We will continue our opposition, and with the petition ongoing, it is time to do your part for wildlife.
Froglife's work conserving reptiles and amphibians depends upon donations.  You can help us protect habitats, save animals and introduce wildilfe to new audiences by contributing your donation here.  Every penny is vital!


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