Meet the RFCG team working on the Orange-breasted Waxbill conservation project

23 Feb


An Orange-breasted Waxbill cockbird.Photo Chris Krog

An Orange-breasted Waxbill cockbird.Photo Chris Krog

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is collaborating with BirdLife South Africa to try and establish why there has been such an unexpected decline in the Orange-breasted Waxbill in certain parts of its natural habitat.

It was agreed that Phase one of the conservation work should consist of the following A ) Establish all the available data on the species in South Africa from the 1940’s onwards to the present day B ) Help raise the conservation awareness of the species both within South Africa as well as internationally C ) Embark on a fund-raising initiative to finance the studies for a PhD or MSc student to take the project to a Phase two level . The following RFCG members , who all volunteer their services free of charge, are currently involved in the conservation work needed on the species

Monique Mcquillan . South Africa

Monique Mcquillan . South Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

RESEARCH. Monique Mcquillan is based in Cape Town and works as a senior horticulturist at the world famous Kirstenbosch gardens on the slopes of Table Mountain. She was an honorary member of the RFCG for many years before she was invited in 2013 to become a full member of the group. Besides her passion for finches she also contributes on a regular basis articles related to birds and gardens for the highly respected African BirdLife magazine. Moniques role is to lead the research work needed on the  Orange-breasted Waxbill conservation project with the able support of the rest of the RFCG team

Professor Sven Cichon. Switzerland

Professor Sven Cichon. Switzerland

RESEARCH , COMMUNICATION AND FUNDRAISING. Professor Sven Cichon is based in Switzerland and by profession is a geneticist at the University of Basle. Sven , like Monique was an honorary member of the RFCG for many years before he was also invited in 2013 to become a full member of the group. Sven is also President of the Estrildidae society in Germany. Sven is responsible for assisting Monique with some of the research work required on the species, as well as to promote the awareness and fund-raising needs for the species in specialist German and Swiss publications

Lindsay Nutley. Vietnam

Lindsay Nutley. Vietnam Photo Eelco Meyjes

COMMUNICATIONS AND FUNDRAISING. Lindsay is an Australian that is based in Vietnam. By profession he is a packaging expert. In 2014 he was recognized by the world’s largest finch Society, the Queensland finch Society, which is based in Brisbane Australia, for his innovative and creative approach for helping to raise the world wide awareness of finches,using social media platforms to achieve that objective . Early in 2014 Lindsay was invited to become an honorary member of the Rare Finch Conservation Group. His assistance to help modernize the facebook media platform of the group resulted in finding the world’s second known photograph of the threatened and elusive Shelley’s crimsonwing finch. The photograph was kindly donated to the RFCG by Colin Jackson from Kenya

Fred Barnicoat. South Africa

Fred Barnicoat. South Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

RESEARCH. Fred Barnicoat is a retired Latin Teacher. He is a founding member of the Rare Finch Conservation Group. He is widely considered to be the grand master of South African aviculture. Many of his nesting and incubation records on finches have been used in world wide specialist publications. Fred is also the father of the group’s name . His unselfish and highly dedicated enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge on birds has inspired many of South Africa’s top aviculturists, who have subsequently gone on to become major contributors to bird conservation work in various bird parks both locally and internationally. Fred will assist with a lot of the book research work required on the Orange-breasted Waxbill project.

Russell Kingston. Australia

Russell Kingston OAM. Australia. Photo Eelco Meyjes

COMMUNICATIONS, FUNDRAISING AND RESEARCH. Russell Kingston is a founding member and Director of the Rare Finch Conservation Group. He is also a founding member and Patron of the world’s largest finch society, the Queensland Finch Society which is based in Brisbane Australia. Russell has authored many internationally acclaimed books on finches and in 2012 was recognized by the Australian government, and awarded an OAM, for his outstanding services to aviculture. Russell regularly contributes to various specialist finch publications in the world. He was also intimately involved with organising the Rare Finch Conservation Groups EcoTours to Africa to help raise funds and the public awareness of one of Africa’s rarest finches the threatened and elusive Shelley’s crimsonwing finch. Russell will assist to raise the international public awareness on the Orange-breasted Waxbill which now needs conservation help.

Amos and Eelco Meyjes. South Africa . Photo Lindsay Nutley

Amos and Eelco Meyjes. South Africa . Photo Lindsay Nutley

COMMUNICATIONS, FUNDRAISING AND RESEARCH. Eelco Meyjes is a founding member and Director of the Rare Finch Conservation Group. He is a retired advertising executive and today spends a large part of his time dedicated to the Rare Finch Conservation Group. He spent many years producing specialist DVD’s targeted to the avicultural market . Each DVD has a conservation message in it. In more recent times he produced the THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION DVD series : The Ground-Hornbill’s Critical Walk to Freedom and Searching for Shelley’s finches amongst Africa’s Mountain Gorillas. His role on the Orange-breasted Waxbill conservation project is to assist with the research, fund raising and public awareness campaign.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION . Mark Stewart. Mark is a founding member and Director of the Rare Finch Conservation Group. He is a qualified CA and takes care of all the groups financial and administrative matters.

 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


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SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

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