United for West Africa (U4WA) is a call to action to the tourism industry, the arts, and passionate individuals to help support the fight against Ebola and remind the world of the beauty of West Africa: it's wild landscapes, culture and people and all it has to offer with an emphasis on Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
U4WA is raising funds for the fight against Ebola as well as encouraging a more positive story of West Africa: one of hope, fascinating cultures, and breathtaking landscapes. Please help support! unite4westafrica.org/about/
Animal Friends donation to PHF
Published 29 Oct, 2014
We would like to thank Kerry Barton from Animal Friends for so kindly donating to PHF. Brilliantly, Kerry was nominated 'Employee of the Month' and was awarded £1,000 to give to an animal charity of her choice and she chose PHF. Thank you!
Animal Friends Pet Insurance was founded by Elaine Fairfax in 1998 with the sole aim of providing pet insurance as a means to help support animal welfare charities. Elaine had worked closely with many animal charities throughout her life but she wanted to do even more to help animals. Thus, she decided to use her business skills to raise substantial funds for animal charities through something people need; pet insurance.
By providing a range of pet insurance policies Animal Friends have been able to donate and support over 300 animal welfare charities across the UK and worldwide, meaning that the total amount of money they have donated to date is £1,836,538.
Norway to give Liberia $150m to fight illegal logging that may spread Ebola
Published 26 Sep, 2014
"Funds will be used to improve forest governance as some scientists speculate that deforestation may be linked to disease," writes Mark Anderson in the Guardian.
We want to spread this positive news story and highlight the link between illegal logging and Ebola, which emphasises the importance of conservation efforts in Liberia and other countries whose natural habitat is threatened with deforestation.
"Norway will give Liberia up to $150m (£92.1m) over the next six years to fund protective measures aimed at stamping out illegal logging in its agricultural sector, which some scientists believe may have contributed to the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The funds will “improve forest governance, strengthen law enforcement, and support efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, both governments said. West Africa is gripped by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed the lives of 2,917 people so far, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Scientists have speculated that the crisis could have been driven by illegal logging that unleashed Ebola-infected fruit bats into contact with people, sending the outbreak out of control," writes Mark Anderson.
Charlie Mayhew, MBE, Chief Executive and co-founder of Tusk Trust came to talk to PHF about Tusk and the amazing projects they support in Africa.
Tusk has over twenty years of experience initiating and funding conservation, community development and environmental education programmes across Africa.
Since its formation in 1990, Tusk has raised over £25 ($40) million for a wide range of projects across the continent. It currently supports 52 field projects in 17 African countries that not only work to protect wildlife, but also help to alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside the wildlife. As the ever-expanding human population and its demand for more land brings increasing conflict with wildlife, Tusk’s aim is to forge an inextricable link between the preservation of Africa’s natural heritage and the future of its land, culture and people.
Charlie founded Tusk with actor Timothy Ackroyd in 1990 and under Mayhew’s stewardship the charity has since grown into becoming a highly reputable NGO. In recognition of his services to conservation in Africa, Charlie was awarded an MBE in December 2005.
Castle of Mey June Newsletter 2014 featuring The Pygmy Hippo Foundation
The Pygmy Hippo Foundation features in Castle of Mey’s June Newsletter
Published 12 Jun, 2014
We are thrilled to feature in Castle of Mey's June Newsletter, which includes Dan and Bert's 1,000 Lands End to John O'Groats cycle, as well as latest news on the foundation.
Dan Betts and Bert Monro, founder and director of The Pygmy Hippo Foundation (PHF), completed a 1000-mile cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats last May, and celebrated their 10-day ordeal at Castle of Mey.
The Castle of Mey was an idyllic spot to end their challenge having spent 6-9 hours a day (headwind dependent!) in the saddle and enduring British weather at its best in early May cycling through hail, rain and some sun finally in the Highlands! The team at the Castle gave a great welcome and filled the cyclists up with much needed tea and cakes after the final 80 miles from Dornoch that day. The weather was absolutely stunning and made for a perfect end to the cycle and, as the pictures show, an excellent photo opportunity in front of such a beautiful setting.
The bike-ride raised £12,000 for the foundation they have built-up over the past 3 years.
PHF was founded to help protect and preserve critical natural habitat, starting with eastern Liberia’s remaining tracks of the stunning Upper Guinean rainforest - one of the most intact ecosystems in West Africa, and a biodiversity hotspot of global significance. Today, only 14% of West Africa’s original rainforests remain, two-thirds in south-eastern Liberia, which is home to some of the planet’s greatest densities and varieties of mammal, bird, insect, and plant life, and the last of the world’s pygmy hippos.
The Zoological Society of London estimates there are less than 2,000 of these adorable-looking creatures remaining in the wild, of which the majority, are believed to be located in Liberia’s Sapo National Park. Sadly, however, the Government of Liberia does not have all the resources needed to properly administer Sapo or protect the integrity of its boundaries.
This is where PHF is playing a crucial role, and its vision is to work with the government of Liberia to implement a sustainable park management programme to protect and manage Sapo, as well as creating a model that can be replicated in other areas of natural beauty and important biodiversity.
PHF has made exciting progress over the past year by commissioning a report conducted by Flora and Fauna International (FFI), which has allowed a far greater understanding on the stresses being put on Sapo, and the surrounding area. The next step is to undertake a feasibility study for the redevelopment and upgrading of the park.
This work would not be possible without the kind help we have received, including all those who sponsored Dan and Bert’s gruelling bike-ride, and supported them along the way, including the team at Castle of Mey.
Please click on our facebook page to see the article
PHF receives donation from ShareGift
Published 1 May, 2014
We are pleased to announce that PHF has received a donation from ShareGift!
ShareGift provides a charitable solution to the business problem of small shareholdings. Often unwanted because they are too small to sell, these shares can be transferred to ShareGift at no cost to the shareholder, aggregated and sold to benefit different UK registered charities. The result is a significant funding stream for the charitable sector which would not otherwise exist, along with substantial savings for companies in administrative costs. Since the charity was set up in 1996, over £17 million has been donated to more than 2,000 charities.
We are pleased to announce that we have just completed a crucial element of our strategy: a Landscape Level Assessment (LLA) of southeastern Liberia, undertaken by Fauna and Flora International.
An LLA is a framework for identifying biodiversity and ecological support areas within a developing landscape of alternative land uses. The assessment analyses spatial datasets in a geographical information system (GIS) to identify high biodiversity areas and cumulative impacts from developments.
The report has helped us:
a.Identify several key priority conservation areas, as well as a large central forest corridor, that extends across and within the assessment area, the maintenance of which is crucial in preserving the high biodiversity in the region
b.Given us a greater understanding of the increasing threat of deforestation in the assessment area, and the resulting fragmentation of high biodiversity hotspots
c.Provided evidence for the value of Proposed Protected Areas (PPAs) and the threats they face from development and deforestation
This key priority conservation area:
•Contains a large proportion of core forest habitat, connected through corridor habitat
•Encompasses several known occurrence records for rare and threatened species
•Includes large connected areas of high biodiversity and ecological support areas
•Correlates with several priority Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) in the landscape (and of national significance)
•Has relatively low rate of historical large-scale deforestation
•Contains no known large-scale agriculture development concessions
This assessment is the first of its kind to have been completed in recent years, and provides an extremely useful foundation for the development of a conservation strategy going forward.
Biodiversity Offsetting in Liberia
Published 22 Feb, 2014
PHF engages with the team behind the World Bank study examining the use of biodiversity offsets in Liberia as an alternative way of habitat protection in the country.
Biodiversity offsets are conservation activities that are designed to give biodiversity benefits to compensate for losses - ensuring that when a development damages nature (and this damage cannot be avoided) new, bigger or better nature sites will be created.
Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year from the Pygmy Hippo Foundation
PHF engages Fauna and Flora International (FFI)
Published 22 Sep, 2013
PHF engages Fauna and Flora International (FFI) with regards to conducting a Landscape Level Assessment (LLA) of Key Biodiversity Vulnerability and Land-use of Eastern Liberia; essential in helping PHF understand what the conservation priority areas are, the biodiversity they contain, and threats they face.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is an international conservation charity. FFI have played a significant role helping to secure sustainable livelihoods in Liberia, since 1997.
The second-ever Liberia Marathon took place on August 25th. Running it this year was Bert in a pygmy hippo costume!
Having only just recovered from May's grueling, 10-day, nearly 1,000-mile cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats, PHF director Bert Monro ran the full Liberia Marathon, more than 26 miles across Monrovia. He was joined by more than 30 members of Hummingbird staff, and other friends and supporters of the Pygmy Hippo Foundation..
If pounding the pavement in the tropical heat and humidity weren't challenging enough, Bert ran the whole race in fancy dress, wearing a special, customised pygmy hippo costume (see image)! Bert had a strong showing, coming in as the 67th runner in the marathon!
We are pleased to announce that £6,000 was raised and we would like to thank all those who generously supported Bert and the PHF team.
Land’s End to John O’ Groats Sponsored Bike Ride
Published 30 May, 2013
Dan and Bert cycled, over 10 days, from Land's End to John O’ Groats in May.
This was a 1,000 mile cycle (with only three flat tyres!) the length of the UK very generously supported by a number of corporate sponsors as well as your individual donations raising over £12,000. Thank you to all those who sponsored Dan and Bert.
PHF signs Memorandum of Understanding
Published 22 Nov, 2012
PHF signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Liberian Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in November 2012, committing the PHF and FDA to work together to improve the management of Sapo National Park.
The Liberian Forestry Development Authority (FDA) is a state corporation established by an act of the Legislature in 1976 with the mandate to sustainably manage and conserve all forest resource for the benefit of present and future generation.This mandate was further strengthened through the National Resource Law of 1979. The 2006, Forestry Reform Law of Liberia is the current legal instrument that guide the management of forest resources in Liberia.
On 24 October 2012 Hummingbird hosted the official launch of The Pygmy Hippo Foundation (PHF) at the Natural History Museum in London. Over 400 guests attended the ball and keynote speakers were the Executive Director of the EPA, Anyaa Vohiri, CEO of LCA, Chris Marais, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP. An auction (and silent auction) was held and over £80,000 was raised for the foundation PHF.
Schedule of Events 19:00 Drinks and Canapés served 20:00 Dinner called and Silent Auction commences 20:15 Introduction by Dan Betts followed by the PHF short-film 20.30 Dinner commences
Speeches during dinner given by: Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP The Honorable Aanya Vohiri, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Liberia Mr Chris Marais, CEO of Leadership Conservation Africa (LCA)
22.15 Main Auction commences conducted by Rupert Bell 22.45 After dinner bar and dancing 01:00 Carriages
We would very much like to thank all those who have been instrumental in making this ball take place and to our speakers and auctioneer for giving their time to be with us today:
The Right Honourable Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG, PC, QC, MP was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 to 1997. In that time he served as a cabinet minister in the Thatcher and Major governments including Foreign Secretary (1995-1997). In the 2005 general election Sir Malcolm won the seat of Kensington and Chelsea which after boundary changes is now Kensington which he won in the 2010 general election.
The Honourable Anyaa Vohiri is Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Liberia. The EPA was formally set up in 2004 and aims “to protect the Liberian environment by implementing policy that ensures the long-term economic prosperity of Liberia through sustainable, social and economic development – meeting the needs of the present generation, without compromising the potential of future generations”.
Mr Chris Marais has been instrumental in devising models for South African National Parks integrating local communities into park systems. He also specialises in organisational development, consulting for many of the top 100 companies in South Africa. He was instrumental in bringing about the Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA) initiative in collaboration with various international corporate’s.
Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
In 2003, with a new democratic government in power, came a new set of laws to protect the Liberian environment – including the foundation of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA aim is “to protect the Liberian environment by implementing policy that ensures the long-term economic prosperity of Liberia through sustainable, social and economic development – meeting the needs of the present generation, without compromising the potential of future generations”.
The Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA)
The Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA) was established by South African National Parks, with support from Gold Fields Ltd and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It held its inaugural meeting in August 2006, and works to establish links between business and conservation. The LCA’s vision is ‘to harness the collective will and capacity of business and conservation leaders for sustainable conservation-led socio-economic development in Africa.’ By the year 2020, the LCA plans to save 20 million hectares of African rainforest and currently has membership from 16 African countries.
PHF engages with Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA)
Published 22 Aug, 2012
PHF engages with Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA), a charity which aims to protect 20 million hectares of rainforest in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2020 on how best to progress the ideas and recommendations outlined in the scoping report. A Public Private Partnership (PPP) model was put forward with regards to the management of Sapo National Park.
In August PHF organized a high-level meeting in Monrovia with Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA), Liberia government environmental protection agencies and world-renowned environmental NGOs both local and international to discuss a concept strategy and action plan for the Foundation. This included the following:
- Employment and training of existing ‘traditional’ foresters
- Helping to fund research activities in the area by other NGOs
- Running community education programmes
- Aiding the efforts of NGO and governmental conservation groups to formalise current plans for other proposed protected areas
The overriding concept discussed was that of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the management of the Sapo National Park. The partnership, supported by the LCA, would be between the PHF and the Government of Liberia. Although still in conceptual stages, it represents a very exciting opportunity. The LCA has considerable experience in national park rehabilitation and management of protected areas through their other projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In our first year, we made progress identifying and assessing the current status of the management of Sapo National park and the demographics and ecosystem of the region by commissioning an international expert to undertake a scoping study. This study has helped us better understand the threats facing Sapo and the surrounding area, as well as highlight the potential opportunities that exist to protect this biodiversity hotspot.
Some Key findings of the Scoping Study
- Very little is known about the Pygmy Hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) due to its nocturnal and reclusive nature, and no wide-scale survey has been undertaken
- The main threats to the Pygmy Hippo are hunting (both commercial and traditional) and habitat loss
- The UN Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) estimated that 36% of Liberia remained densely forested in 2001; however there are doubts about the accuracy of this now
- Conserving the forest habitat of the Pygmy Hippo will have major benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Around 85% of Liberia’s forest is outside of existing and proposed protected areas. Working on strengthening and expanding the protected area network, alleviating poverty (especially in rural areas) and raising awareness at all levels is vital for conservation in Liberia
First footage of wild Pygmy Hippos in Liberia
Published 25 Jan, 2012
The Pygmy Hippo Foundation established by Hummingbird Resources
Published 22 Jul, 2011
The Pygmy Hippo Foundation (PHF), a UK registered charity dedicated to improving conservation in Liberia, was founded by Hummingbird Resources in July 2011.
Our Vision is to ensure the ongoing protection of the forests in southeast Liberia through the creation of a unique partnership between industry, government and conservation. Through the re-development of the Sapo National Park, enabling broader conservation initiatives in the surrounding forest areas and facilitating education programmes, the PHF aims to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of endangered species such as the pygmy hippo in their natural habitat. Central to our endeavour is partnering with government bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,) as well as other key national and international NGO’s with extensive experience in the Liberian conservation sector.