Record numbers flock to Birdfair in Rutland

Birdfair 2014 at Rutland water.  Itziar Almarcegui promoting visits to the see wildlife in Spain. EMN-140816-201556009

Birdfair 2014 at Rutland water. Itziar Almarcegui promoting visits to the see wildlife in Spain. EMN-140816-201556009

The world’s biggest wildlife fair poured £750,000 into the local economy and educated, informed and entertained more than 22,000 people.

Since the Birdfair started at Rutland Water 26 years ago, it has also given £3.5million to global conservation partnership Birdlife International.

Tim Appleton, event organiser said: “It’s one of the biggest contributors to bird conservation. And it is all happening in a tiny field in Rutland.

“It has a massive impact all over the world.

“And it’s a really good thing for the local community.”

The 370 exhibitors from 58 countries around the world including Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and African and European countries occupied eight massive marquees at the site and helped to attract record numbers of men, women and children this year.

Mr Appleton, who joined the nature reserve at Rutland Water in 1975, is one of the founders of the event that was first hosted in 1989.

He said: “Now it’s the world’s biggest wildlife event.”

Estimates show the public spent more than £1 million a day at the Birdfair’s many stalls and workshops and lecture marquees were the bird-world’s greats including Chris Packham, Bill Oddie, Stephen Moss and Mike Dilgern gave talks.

“We are lucky to have all these people’s support,” Mr Appleton said.

“Many of the top personalities have been supporting Birdfair for many years.

“There were 200 volunteers helping over the three days at the weekend.”

The estimated profits from the event this year of about £300,000 will go to save seas and oceans around the world.

Mr Appleton said: “By 2020 the governments of all the responsible nations of the world want to get 10 per cent of all the oceans protected. At the moment only 1.8 per cent is protected.

“Marine life from fish to wildlife, everything that goes into the sea, is vital to the whole biodiversity of our world.

“From my point of view the threatened species are sea birds. They are going through a massive decline all over the world. That is a massive, massive challenge.”

Birdfair is held annually in August and is jointly promoted by the RSPB and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.




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