See our new Finding Shelley YouTube video

20 Sep

The Rare Finch Conservation Group was founded on 10 August 2005. It was at a time when Google, facebook, YouTube, Blogs, twitter and smartphones were either not yet in existence or still very much in their infancy. Birdlife International and the IUCN Red List on birds listed the Shelley’s crimsonwing as Vulnerable with a population estimate of 2,500 to 10,000. The species was known to be a high altitude finch normally seen at 1,550 – 3,500 m above sea level . The bird had been seen in the DRC , Rwanda and in Uganda in the Rwenzori Mountains and in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Even with this reportedly large population estimate the RFCG was sadly unable to source a single photographic reference of a live specimen for the world to see.

William van Rijn sketching the Shelley’s crimsonwing finch in his lounge back in 2005. Photo Eelco Meyjes

And so it was that William van Rijn , who is a founder member of the RFCG and also has artistic talent, did a drawing of the bird to accompany our very first press release. The RFCG embarked on an aggressive international and local awareness campaign to help bring attention to one of Africa’s rarest finches . The group also raised  funding to conduct two field research studies in the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The spectacular forest, with its reported 43 finch species, is also home to half of the worlds threatened Mountain Gorillas.

None of us in our wildest dreams would have thought that seven years later , literally to the day , the RFCG would be hosting its first EcoTour to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to help raise some much needed funding. Not to mention bringing some valuable ecotourism to people living in the local community

Standing in the main road in Buhoma where the Uganda Wildlife Authority ( UWA ) head office for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is based. l to r Joe Kitching, Indra and Russell Kingston, Ralph Kunkel, Geoff and Sue Russell, kneeling Benson Bamutura RFCG bird guide and field manager, Chris Leeper and Peter James . Photo taken by Eelco Meyjes

In addition to the news above, again none of us in our wildest dreams would have predicted that the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA ) would be informing the RFCG, on its 7th anniversary, of the introduction of a Shelley’s finch birding hike up at Ruhija. Nor would we have speculated that we would be sharing all this exciting news direct with our supporters on YouTube, Google, Twitter as well as on our very own RFCG Blog

The Rare Finch Conservation Group would sincerely like to thank all its followers, donors and sponsors for their invaluable support over the past seven years and let’s hope that our vision and ideals will continue to inspire finch enthusiasts all over the world.

If you enjoyed our Finding Shelley YouTube video please share it with a friend.

Our next blog will show some interesting visuals of the village of Buhoma which is where the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest HQ is based

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