SENTINELS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
The Importance of Migratory Birds in the Global Ecosystem
Thursday 30 June 2022: 3pm London / 9am Cayman
Thursday 30 June 2022
3pm London / 9am Cayman
Moderator / Opening Remarks:
Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia Representative,
Cayman Islands Government Office, UK
Patricia Bradley, MBE
The pivotal role that migratory birds play in the ecosystem and the importance of stopover habitats like the Cayman Islands for their survival.
Ian Redmond, OBE
Bird Life in the Cayman Islands by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands
Birdsong is a natural wonder and simple pleasure and also nature’s alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signalling the start of the day. However, birds are the unsung heroes in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Around half of the UK’s bird species migrate each year, some taking short journeys, and others travelling thousands of miles across to Africa and the same is happening over in North America as they travel down towards the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands.
This special online webinar during London Climate Action Week 2022, featuring Ian Redmond OBE, renowned wildlife biologist and conservationist and Ambassador for the UN Convention on Migratory Species, and others, will celebrate and highlight the importance of bird migration to the global ecosystem. In particular the role birds play in ecological processes from which we all benefit, nutrient cycles, carbon sequestration and seed dispersal. It will also showcase the new Motus posts in the Cayman Islands which will enable better understanding of these flight paths and support conservation efforts.
The Cayman Islands are part of the UK Overseas Territories which together are home to 94 per cent of British endemic species and 90 per cent of the biodiversity, for which the UK Government has responsibility. And while the Cayman Islands is well known internationally as a leading international finance centre, many may not know of its history of practising responsible management and sustainable use of the natural environment and natural resources through environmental protection and conservation, wise use, scientific research, and public education
Ian Redmond, OBE
“I am a naturalist by birth, a biologist by training, and a conservationist by necessity. But conservation for me isn’t just about saving species. On a larger scale, the planet needs us to save functioning eco-systems; on a smaller scale, we must also recognise that species are made up of individual animals.”
Ian Redmond, OBE
Ian Redmond, OBE is a wildlife biologist and conservationist, renowned for more than 45 years for his work with great apes and elephants through research, filming, tourism and conservation. He has served as Envoy for the UN Great Apes Survival Partnership, Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla in 2009 and for the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species since 2010. This work began in 1976 when he joined Dian Fossey, studying and protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Zaire (now DRC); this also led him into filmmaking. Ian is the man who introduced Sir David Attenborough to the gorillas in 1978, for the famous BBC ‘Life on Earth’ sequences, and who taught Sigourney Weaver to grunt like a gorilla in 1987, for the award-winning film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
Ian works with organisations such as Born Free Foundation, Gorilla Organization, Orangutan Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, FAO and others. His books and articles have been translated into many languages and he is in demand as an entertaining and thought-provoking public speaker.
“I am passionate about the protection of wilderness and wildlife and everything that is not yet tamed, including young humans that have a right to the bounty of nature that we inherited. The climate and biodiversity crises are interconnected – we must protect and preserve nature in our fight to stop climate change – for us, for the next generation, and for the colourful tapestry of creation itself.”
Catherine Childs has been a member of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) team since 2013, she currently serves as the Environmental Programmes Manager and has a Master’s degree in Environmental Science with a specialisation in Climate Change. Nature-based solutions to the climate crisis are of particular interest to Catherine who is the founder of Island Offsets, a non-profit NGO created to help people, businesses and organisations offset their carbon footprint by funding projects in the Cayman Islands that protect at-risk mangrove ecosystems.
“Get outside and get into nature! It is time to disconnect from the devices and re-connect with life’s diversity. So get outside, explore, discover and fall-in love with nature. Because we protect what we love!”
Simone Williams is a Research Officer with Terrestrial Resources Unit for the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and brings a global perspective to the unit. Having studied passerines (songbirds) and shorebirds in Canada, Alaska, Southern United States and the Caribbean, she has travelled hemispheric proportions to determine species richness, abundance, distribution and survival rates for these migratory populations. She completed her Master of Science degree through Trent University’s Environmental and Life Sciences Programme in Ontario, Canada, and worked for the Toronto Zoo as an assistant researcher. She is eager to use her experiences and skills for the preservation and monitoring of Cayman’s flora and fauna.
“Migratory species are an integral part of the healthy functioning of the global ecosystem. They remind us of our connection to the finite resource that is our blue planet and how vital it is that each of us and our countries come together to manage it sustainably. I would like to motivate people around the globe into a kind of ‘Mexican wave’ of action.”
Sacha Dench is an Ambassador for the Convention on Migratory Species, an Australian biologist, conservationist, adventurer, champion sportswoman and motivational speaker. Although she has a background as a turtle geneticist and she dedicated to many environmental causes, she is worldwide known as the ‘Human Swan’.
During her recent record-breaking expedition the ‘Flight of the Swans’, Sacha flew a paramotor from Arctic Russia, across 11 countries, to the UK, following the migratory route of the Bewick’s Swan. This expedition has won her and her team awards for aviation, conservation and communication.
With a 20-year professional journey as a conservationist working at organizations such as Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Sacha has also established a new non-governmental organization named ‘Conservation without Borders’, set up to tackle the big issues of our time by looking at them through the eyes of migratory species. Through Conservation without Borders, Sacha is planning new conservation projects, including a new expedition called the ‘Flight of the Osprey’ where she will be flying 10,000km following the migratory journey of the Osprey from their summer home in Scotland to the winter sun of West Africa. The Osprey is a priority species for CMS and its Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU). The Flight of the Osprey expedition will focus on this bird as a flagship species to publicize the challenges faced by migratory birds along a flyway and highlights the actions needed to conserve these birds and other species within the framework of CMS and the Raptors MOU. Sacha was asked to be an Ambassador for Migratory Species just weeks after sadly losing her family home to Australia’s catastrophic bushfires.
Patricia Bradley, MBE
“After life in three continents I continue a life -long commitment to studying and conserving the natural world.”
Patricia Bradley arrived on Grand Cayman in 1982 and has begun to put together comparative monthly records of bird sightings on all three islands. She is a founding and Life member of the Cayman Islands National Trust, a member and supporter of Birds Caribbean, co-edited the book ‘An Inventory of the Breeding Seabirds of the Caribbean’, and has authored several field guides and natural history books, as well as a British Ornithologists’ Union checklist.
“The Caribbean Overseas Territories (OTs) are home to unique and irreplaceable habitats and wildlife. Many of the best places for birds and wildlife are under ever-increasing pressure. Our team at the RSPB supports partners deliver conservation on the ground, from island restoration, saving special places to recovering species at risk of extinction.”
Charlie Butt is the Caribbean Territories Programme Manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) a charitable organisation founded in 1889. In that role he provides strategic oversight of and is the partnership manager for the RSPB’s operations in the United Kingdom Caribbean Overseas Territories, spearheading the development and implementation of a growing programme focused around priority species and sites, policy advocacy and capacity-building.