A record breaking Birdfair 2014 raised £280,000 to help advance the designation of new marine protected areas and to enrich worldwide marine wildlife.

The cheque was presented to BirdLife International at a ceremony at WWT London Wetlands Centre. The funds will be spent on its ‘Protecting the World’s Seas and Oceans’ project  ensuring that marine protected areas cover critical at-sea habitats for seabirds and other mobile marine species, around Europe, Africa, Antarctica and the high seas.

These sites will protect critical breeding and feeding areas, as well as areas vital for seabirds on migration. The project will potentially benefit a high number of seabirds and may boost the number of rare seabirds, such as Balearic shearwater, visiting UK shores.

Patricia Zurita, BirdLife International’s Chief Executive, said: “BirdLife International and our partners working in marine protected areas are very grateful to the Birdfair. This cheque will enable us to work with national governments to create a network of areas that will conserve threatened seabirds, marine mammals, fish stocks and other species.”

It was revealed at the presentation that Birdfair 2015’s fund raising project will be ‘Hope for migratory birds in the Eastern Mediterranean: action against illegal killing’. The aim of the project will be to reduce the scale and impact of illegal killing of migratory birds, and to improve protection and laws throughout the region.

Tim Appleton, Birdfair Co-organiser and Reserve Manager at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, said: “I am delighted that through Birdfair we can highlight the major issues for migrating birds in this region of the Eastern Mediterranean, millions of birds are being slaughtered illegally as they fly to their breeding grounds and then return to their wintering grounds. It has to stop before it’s too late for many vulnerable species.”

The Eastern Mediterranean is used by hundreds of millions of migratory birds on their migration between Europe and Africa, each spring and autumn. The Africa-Eurasia flyway is used by more than 25 species of bird facing the threat of global extinction, including sociable lapwing and northern bald ibis – two of the world’s rarest birds – and 64 of the 188 songbirds using the flyway are in decline.

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