BirdLife: The Magazine September 2017 - Page 6

YOUR COMMENTS LETTERS from across the NGO. Hearing the stories of your researchers, scientists, policy workers, communicators and facilitators would not only help us to get a better idea of which paths to take, but would no doubt also inspire us to stay on the track and keep fighting to give our planet the better future it deserves. Jessica Hobson Dear Jessica, I think it’s fantastic that you and your peers have the passion for the natural world that is much needed in the up and coming generations; I too was inspired to turn my attention to protecting the planet after learning of the incredible diversity of life and the “sixth mass extinction” during my Zoology degree — and yes, it did require hard graft and volunteering. But I think it’s wrong, ethically — perhaps fundamentally, that it’s tough to get the foot in the door of the conservation sector, when it can be much easier to get better-paid jobs that may be more damaging to the environment. The “real world” you mention is not geared to conservation: imagine if NGOs did not even need to exist because the environment was properly built into the systems that oversee our society. What message does it give the world that young people can be discouraged from pursuing a wholesome career that is for the benefit of all life? We’re thoroughly grateful for any help we get. One thing you’ve correctly realised is that conservation is not only a science, but a multi- disciplinary sector, and personally I became drawn to communications to help push nature more into the mainstream. So we welcome people from all arenas, and we need more funds so that young people don’t have to sleep on sofas to start working in conservation. But, as the recent investigation by Jeremy Hance on Mongabay.com showed: “the field of conservation may be haemorrhaging passionate, qualified, and innovative young people.” And so yes, we must do more to inspire people to become conservationists, whether at home, through financial support, or professionally, especially in regions of high biodiversity. It’s all about people: so thank you for your letter, we plan to feature “conservation heroes” from around the BirdLife Partnership in future issues. They’ve got some great stories to tell. (Also, check out conservation-careers.com, it’s a fantastic resource; and come and visit, we’d love to meet you.) Shaun Hurrell, Communications ERRATUM In the article “Gorilla Crossing” in the previous issue (The Magazine, The Sex Issue, pages 54-55) on the project to build a road through sensitive forest areas in Nigeria, it was erroneously stated that the rainforest is saved as the path of the superhighway was changed to a less damaging alternative. Unfortunately, these statements are incorrect. The Federal Ministry of Environment has recently granted a provisional approval of the latest, fourth version of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the original road proposal subject to 23 conditions that will have to be met by the Cross River State Government. The Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the BirdLife Partner in Nigeria, and other NGOs are closely following the developments as the threat still stands on the largest rainforest ecosystem in Nigeria. WHAT IS THE BEST BIRD YOU’VE SEEN... AND WHY? From facebook • Sri Lankan Frogmouth — a long trudge through leach infested rainforest but well worth it to find this exquisitely camou- flaged bird on its nest. Simon Tull • Hoopoe. When I saw one for the first time when I was living in Morocco, it really lifted my spirits. I saw it regularly after that and they always gave me hope (!). Carly Edwards • I love a Long-tailed Tit; they’re always hav- ing a party. Josie Preece • Right now, probably Hoatzin, because they’re such ridiculous, unique birds. They’re essentially dinosaurs. They’re so unique. Erika May • I decided to hide, climbing a tree... A hum- mingbird came and hovered... for about 30 seconds. His wings moved so fast it was like his tiny body was wingless, float- ing. Not a sound... right next to my face. I was a kid, felt incredibly grateful to nature for existing. Still feel that way. Malundra CR • Long-eared Owl. In an olive grove. At dusk. Seeing it suddenly fly over me to check me out (like a true predator) took me by sur- prise and filled me with awe. I felt w