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RFCG plans to do telemetry development tests on captive finches in Australia

11 May

Honorary RFCG member Monique Mcquillan

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is currently planning to do telemetry tests on small finches in captivity in preparation for the day that it can use the equipment on finches in the wild. To date it appears that no practical field expertise currently exists in South Africa ( Dr Christine Smit from BirdLife  South Africa knows of no fieldwork using telemtry equipment on finches ) and the RFCG is now investigating if any such expertise may exist in Australia

Honorary RFCG member Monique Mcquillan , who lives in Cape Town , is working hard to find potential equipment suppliers and costs for research tests to be done in the new purpose built walk in aviary at Russell Kingston’s facility in Queensland, Australia . All learnings will be gladly shared with other finch conservation organisations and the threatened Blackthroat Grassfinch ( Poephila cincta ) in Australia could be a prime beneficiary.

If any of our followers, be they individuals, clubs, company’s or corporates would like to become telemetry equipment sponsors please let us know and we will gladly give public recognition for your valued support. Initial indications suggest that the equipment is very expensive and that doing trial tests, in a captive enclosure, will be the perfect way to help minimise development costs and fast track our learnings. More information on this exciting new development will be shared on future RFCG blog postings.

For more information on the RFCG please contact . The RFCG is registered as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependant on donors and sponsors for its current and future success. 

UK Bird club proudly donates 590 UK pounds to RFCG

6 Apr

Peter McGough who is an avid finch enthusiast.

Peter McGough, who is a member of the Solaway Parrot and FBC club in the UK, recently visited South Africa on the Glen Holland seedeaters birding safari. During his visit he and the rest of the group met members of the Rare Finch Conservation Group ( RFCG ) at the home of Prof. Ernst Kruger in Pretoria. Prof. Ernst Kruger is widely regarded in South Africa as the leading expert on African finches .

Peter, and the rest of his tour group, were appraised of the difficult logistics and challenges involved in managing the conservation work on one of Africa’s rarest finches, namely the Shelley’s crimsonwing finch which is porportedly found in Uganda , Rwanda and the DRC in central Africa .

Peter, equipped with a copy of the RFCG fund raising DVD titled : Searching for Shelley’s  finches amongst Africa’s Mountain Gorillas, went back to his club in the UK and shared the information about the world’s most exciting finch conservation project with his fellow club members.

The great news is that he and his club were able to raise and donate 590 UK pounds for the RFCG . The RFCG is registered as a non profit organisation and is focused on doing conservation work on threatened finches in the wild .

The Soloway Parrot and FBC club is based in Cumbria close to the Scottish border, on the edge of the Lake District and has a membership of 80+. Meetings are held monthly at Waverton on Sunday mornings and usually between 30 and 60 people attend. At the start of each year the club draws up a meetings calendar for the year. During a Typical calendar year specialist speakers are invited to give talks including one by an Avian Vet at the meetings.

For more information about the club please contact the club chairman  David Carruthers, e mail or its vice chairman Robbie Young, e mail

The RFCG would hereby publicly like to thank Peter and his club for their fantastic donation and we appeal to all other bird clubs in the world, that have an interest in finch conservation work in the wild, to pick up the challenge to try and support this very worthy and pioneering cause.

Unless other wise requested all donations will be publicly acknowledged on the RFCG website  

Teaching young children all about the need for gorilla conservation is critical

16 Mar

Young children play acting out a gorilla dance for ecotourists on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda . Photo courtesy Cheryl Mares

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme realised at a very early stage that if it was to achieve success with saving the threatened Mountain Gorillas of Africa, it would need to teach the young children that live along the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest all about the long term benefits and importance of these very special apes .

Visual courtesy Cheryl Mares

Children from a young age are encouraged to part take in all sorts of cultural activities related to the Mountain Gorilla . In the most recent population census as reflected in 10 Jan blog post we see that the species has tripled in numbers and that all indications suggest that the conservation work has been a great success .

It is the express vision of the Rare Finch Conservation Group to help teach the very same young children in the area all about the rarity of the threatened Shelley’s crimsonwing finch, and to one day attract finch enthusiasts from all over the world to visit this incredible destination in Africa .

A young mountain gorilla . Visual courtesy Cheryl Mares

If you would like to support the RFCG with its pioneering conservation work then please contact Eelco Meyjes for more information at editor@avitalk

More than 140,000 watch stunning YouTube video footage from Rwanda

5 Feb

By now we all know that the Shelley’s crimsonwing finch is one of the rarest finches in Africa . We also know that the elusive finch inhabits the same habitat as the threatened mountain gorillas made famous by Dian Fossey, with her pioneering research work in Rwanda in the early 1970’s.

Threatened Shelley's crimsonwing finch. Visual courtesy

In the brilliant YouTube video titled : Gorillas…98.6 Human, and already enjoyed by more than 140,000, you get to see the exact habitat where both threatened species exist . The 22 minute video is beautifully filmed and highly informative and will be enjoyed by all wildlife conservationists

The Rare Finch Conservation Group, which is registered as a non profit organisation, salutes the African Wildlife Foundation for helping to raise the international awareness levels of the threatened Mountain Gorillas of Africa .


14 Jan

  As many of our Rare Finch Conservation Group ( RFCG ) supporters already know the elusive Shelley’s Crimsonwing finch is found in the same areas as the famous threatened Mountain Gorilla’s in Africa , but what a lot of our supporters don’t realise is how basic life can be in the villages surrounding the National Parks where the Mountain Gorilla’s can be seen . Near the end of our Phase two field research work the RFCG conducted work in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. With phase three we plan to do more field work in the area .

A brilliant innovation to teach locals about the need for gorilla conservation was recently launched in the villages bordering the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park . Read more about this phenomenal story that first appeared on the Wildlifedirect website

Pedal-filmThe Gorilla Organization (GO) has launched an innovative environmental education project in the villages surrounding the Mgahinga National Park – one of only two parks that are home to the Mountain gorilla in Uganda.The project, the first pedal powered environmental film in Africa, shows environmental conservation films to schoolchildren and rural communities in the villages around the park – some of whom have never seen a film. The villagers and children take turns pedaling the two bikes that power the film equipment. It’s like watching Gorillas in the Mist while pedaling your exercise bike in the gym.This exciting project has undoubtedly seen mammoth following among the village children and adults. As many as 800 children attended one screening and in the first three weeks, “11,600 school children, 184 teachers, 110 soldiers and 46 park rangers, all living around the Ugandan gorilla habitats, have seen the films – wow!”, says Sam from the resource centre at the Gorilla OrganisationThis innovation was developed by “wonder technician” Colin Tonks and was brought to Uganda from the UK by Tonks in partnership with Great Apes Film Initiative (GAF). Tonks and GAF Director, Madeline Westwood, came to Uganda to set the project running.

Visit Gorilla organisation post 29 Nov 2010 by Tuver Wundi for more information about this amazing story


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