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Visit Howletts Animal Park This Half Term And Celebrate Halloween

Visit Howletts Animal Park This Half Term And Celebrate Halloween

If you are planning a holiday this October half term, why not visit Howletts near Cantebury Kent which is one of the UK’s most successful animal parks. This holiday, the park will ensure the kids will have lots of fun with plenty of prizes to be won in various competitions, free activities and educational talks that will be given over the whole holiday.

Activities every day

The fun starts on Saturday 24th October and will continue to Sunday 1st November with activities taking place every day. These include the frightening fact trail which will educate visitors on the dangers animals face in the wild as well as plenty of talks that are filled with fun and facts. There is also a touch table that is simply terrifying that will give visitors the opportunity to build a hotel for bugs that serves to protect creepy crawlies.

“‘We’re open every day throughout half term and we’re encouraging all our visitors to get into the spirit of Halloween early with all our frightful fun activities. This year we are also holding a fancy dress competition, on Saturday 31st October, where participating visitors can win some fantastic prizes.’ Neil Spooner, Animal Director said.

Top attraction

There will be a number of activities to celebrate Halloween including a fancy dress competition, plus visitors will be able to participate in a workshop for pumpkin carving. Later on guests will be able to see the animals enjoy the tasty treats. Howletts Wild Animal Park has consistently been rated as a top attraction by reviewers on TripAdvisor and was recently inducted into the site’s hall of fame.

Lots of things to do and see

The park will have its doors open over the entire half term period and visitors will have the opportunity to wander throughout the 90 acres of extremely beautiful natural parkland and spot rare and endangered species. If you are really lucky you may even get to see the latest arrivals to the park, the adorable baby gibbons and many more.

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WWF Helps To Conserve The Amazon Rainforest

WWF Helps To Conserve The Amazon Rainforest

The world’s largest tropical rainforest conservation scheme is the Amazon Regional Protected Areas Programme also known ARPA. The scheme was launched by the Brazilian government back in 2002 in partnership with WFF and other conservation agencies. The goal was to take 60 million hectares of the rainforest in Brazil and turn it into a combination of strictly protected area and sustainable use.

The scheme is well funded

The scheme received some positive news recently when the government of Germany made the commitment to spend approximately US$ 33 million to finance the programme. A new presidential decree for ARPA also came into effect which brings the original 2002 decree up to date and formalises the scheme’s new goal of achieving complete financial sustainability for all the protected areas covered by ARPA in the next 25 years.

An innovative approach to conservation finance

The innovate approach to financing the conservation process was envisioned by WWF and its partner organisations just few years ago. The method involves a “transition fund” from which money will be given to Brazil over a period of time. The amount of financing the government will receive should be enough to cover the total amount it would cost to maintain the ARPA sites.

Many organisations helped

This has made possible because contributions are coming not just from WWF and Germany but a whole range of organisations. This includes the World Bank, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, and the Linden Trust For Conservation. Without all these agencies coming together, the programme would never have gotten off the ground, and there is room for hope that one of the earth’s greatest natural resources, the Amazon rainforest will be kept safe for decades to come.

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World Vision Worried About Effects Of Heat Wave On Refugees In Iraq

World Vision Worried About Effects Of Heat Wave On Refugees In Iraq

As temperatures in Iraq continue to rise, World Vision is urging donors to give more money to support families that have been displaced. Temperatures at the start of the month began to exceed 50 degrees and the aid agency is extremely concerned for the families on the ground. Cecil Laguardia of World Vision says the heat wave has made already difficult living conditions that much harder for children. There are almost a million displaced children in Iraq.

Living in steel boxes

Ms. Laguardia adds that many of the shelters or caravans are little more than steel boxes. Whilst there are the fortunate few families that own a cooler, there is still the issue of power cuts which occur throughout the day. Those families who don’t have a cooler have to deal with shelters that get unbearably hot. Going outdoors is simply not an option for these families where temperatures are searing.

7.1 million people affected

The heat wave began in late July and reports keep pouring in about families and their children suffering from heat stroke, dehydration and diarrhoea. The best way to deal with the effects of severe weather is funding Ms. Laguardia explained. In June Iraq’s Humanitarian Response Plan was released by the Kurdish Region of Iraq government and the United Nations. The report warns that as many as 7.1 million people will require water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. If these issues remain unaddressed many in the aid community worry there will be an outbreak of disease which will likely make what is a miserable situation much worse.

“There simply aren’t enough water supplies for all families. The electricity in this camp goes off at least two to three times a day. It’s often the case where there is no power for at least three hours during the day and five hours at night, making it even more difficult for my children to stay hydrated.” 45-year old Anwar who lives in a camp in Erbil with his wife and four children said.

World Vision doing its bit

World Vision is doing its bit and is trying to rehabilitate a water facility which would mean better water supplies for as many as 40,000 people living in the Khanke camp as well as other host communities. Construction for the project is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Water of Duhok. It is expected that the project will be complete by November 2015.

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WWF Says Companies More Aware Of Sustainable Timber Use

WWF Says Companies More Aware Of Sustainable Timber Use

According to WWF, more than100 business were assessed to see whether they were transparent and provided enough information when it comes to their sustainable use of timber. The authors of the report found four companies which scored the maximum ratings for sustainable timber use. These include Carillion, Travis Perkins, Saint-Gobain and Mace. The three tree rating suggests that these companies have made a very public commitment to sustainable timber use and there is visible evidence which suggests that they have implemented policies to ensure that only a sustainable amount of timber is being used in their products.

Lots of companies improving

Some large UK supermarket chains did very well in the study including Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s, so did book publishers Macmillan as did Marks & Spencer. There were a number of brands that occupied the middle ground when it comes to transforming their supply chains which indicated their progress has been solid. These companies include Penguin Random House, Boots and IKEA. Whilst this is good news, most companies have a long way to go.

Awareness being raised

The rating systems took into account the various policies and practices of the companies in relation to their use of sustainably sourced timber and related products. The scoring process was able to increase the awareness of bad practices by the companies that were being studied as well as the problem of deforestation which produces habitat loss and is one of the causes behind climate change.

Consumers are concerned

According to the latest WWF-UK research, consumers are concerned with the kind of timber being used and whether it is being sourced from. However there is very little information available to consumers to ensure they know that they are buying products made from sustainable timber compared to fair trade chocolate and coffee for example.

Change is possible

The results of the study do suggest that change is in fact possible and many consumer product companies are moving forward when it comes to the use of sustainable timber. Some companies in fact are making lots of progress however it is behind the scenes and these companies should also make the effort to make consumers aware.

“Some of the companies who didn’t fare so well have engaged with WWF-UK since they were given their scores, to look at how they can improve their policy and communication around sustainable timber. As a result, we have decided to update the scores in the autumn to reflect immediate changes made by businesses.” Julia Young of WWF-UK’s forest team said

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World Vision Urges UK Public Not To Forget Child Refugees


World Vision UK is urging the public to lend their support for the child refugee crisis. The latest figures suggest that there are over 29 million children all over the world that have been forced to flee their homes. Data from the UNHCR suggest that conflicts taking place in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria have been responsible for the rise. The UN agency reckons that there are now a record breaking 59.5 million people globally that have been displaced, half of those that have been displaced are children.

“Imagine half of the United Kingdom being forced to flee their homes – except they are all children. This is a sobering thought and a wake-up call for world leaders and the international community to step up their efforts to solve political crises and to offer more support to refugee children. Earlier this year, I met refugees in camps near the Syrian border and heard harrowing stories from children who endured experiences that no child ever should. While many have fled to safety, and we can offer some kind of normality, there are millions more who haven’t made it – and who urgently need assistance. We know that children are least to blame in any conflict – yet, tragically, they’re the ones who suffer the most,” Tim Pilkington, World Vision UK Chief Executive, said.

Tolerance is fading

World Vision UK is calling for increased support from the public after reports worryingly revealed that there is less tolerance for Syria and other countries in the Middle East. According to the most recent survey conducted by Islamic Relief, 47 per cent of those that were polled did not belief the UK should offer refuge to people fleeing the fighting in the Middle East.

Refugees have no other options

Johan Eldebo of World Vision says that the world is becoming increasingly more hostile towards refugees. The simple fact of the matter is no one decides they want to be a refugee. They become refugees when there are no other options available and have to flee for their lives. Unfortunately the ongoing crisis has lasted so long the public has become immune to them. Whilst that may be the case, there is no family that feels at home living in refugee camp tents.

Child refugees are on their own

A large proportion of child refugees travel alone, travelling in terrain that is harsh and end up living in giant refugee camps where they have to fight over limited resources with no one to comfort them when they are scared. In advance of World Refugee Day, World Vision is calling on the global community to ensure that child refuges are prioritised. The agency believes such children should have the right to be cared for particularly when they are separated from their families.

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UNESCO Says Australia Must Restore The Health Of The Great Barrier Reef

Donation4Charity 1

Environmental campaigners and those who depend on the Great Barrier Reef have received support from UNESCO. The agency recently declared that Australia must ensure the treasure must be protected from threats ranging from pollution and reckless industrialisation. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee says it will continue pressuring Australia to deliver on its promises to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is restored to health.

“This vote by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee demonstrates that green advocacy works: the Australian government is now effectively on probation over the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. For this amazing place to flourish again, governments and businesses alike have a crucial role to play. We will be watching progress and continue to protect this and other natural World Heritage sites,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK.

Australia commits to improving the reef’s health

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International says Australia has committed to ensure the health of the reef remains a priority over damaging activities such as dredging and dumping the spoil. He adds that UNESCO will maintain a close watch on the reef and whether its condition improves. The issue is of critical importance to over half a million WWF campaign supporters and the millions of people all over the world who are concerned by the industrial destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

UNESCO expresses concern

The committee’s final decision on the reef expressed concern that wildlife populations and their habitats have experience a general decline and the overall outlook for the reef is poor. The committee highlighted the fact that there remains major long term threats such as climate change and water pollution which must be tackled.

Australia must live up to its promises

In its decision, the committee requested Australia to make sure all its commitments are rigorously implemented so that the reef’s current documented declines are halted. Australia is required to report back to UNESCO by December 2016 on its progress and then make a follow up report three years after that in order to demonstrate effective and sustained protection of the reef.

Major threats remain

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman says the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef are climate change and water pollution. He adds that the organisation will work non-stop to ensure that the marine ecosystem is restored to health. The decision by the World Heritage committee will maintain the pressure on Australia to live up to its promises and achieve results. It is important to bring back the corals and marine life that depend on the reef.

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Nepalese Rhino Numbers Rise by 21 Per Cent

Following the latest rhino count in Nepal, the country’s government has released very encouraging results. The good news is certainly a big boost to Nepal’s conservation efforts particularly at this difficult time, when the country is still dealing with the devastating earthquake which struck in April. The latest figures indicate Nepal’s rhino population has risen by 21 per cent during the last four years.

Nepal should be proud

According to the census, there are now 645 rhinos in the country compared with 534 when the last estimate took place in 2011. This means that there are now more rhinos in Nepal than at any other time since the 1950’s which is a huge achievement for the country and one that it should be rightly proud of. Anil Manandhar of WWF Nepal says that whilst these are difficult times for Nepal, it is stories such as these that offer a much needed ray of hope.

WWF provided support

WWF provided the financial and technical support that made the rhino count possible. Since the earthquake WWF staff in Nepal have been preoccupied with providing resources and support for the relief efforts and helping those that have been affected in the regions where they work. Nepal is also celebrating the fact that another 365 day period has passed without a single rhino being poached. This is the third time in five years that this has been achieved.

Hard work pays off

The results are a clear sign of both the commitment and hard work of the government of Nepal working side by side with WWF and other conservation groups and local communities to ensure that there is a bright future for this iconic species. The key to success has been modern patrolling technologies and constant vigilance because poaching threats are an ever present danger. Over the last year in Chitwan alone over 650 people have been arrested for involvement in wildlife crime.

The rhino count took place between April 11 and May 2 and was led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Forests Department in collaboration with the National Trust for Nature and Conservation and WWF Nepal.


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World Vision Urges G7 Leaders To Help World’s Most Vulnerable Children

World Vision, the international development agency has urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure that the most vulnerable children in the world are not forgotten. World Vision issued the reminder to the British PM at the G7 summit held in Bavaria recently.

New development goals being developed

World Vision’s Geeta Bandi-Phillips who attended the summit as the agency’s External Relations Manager says this year is critical for children because the Millennium Development Goals are all set to expire with new goals for the post 2015 era still being developed. She adds that G7 meetings are an important opportunity for world leaders to show their support for an ambitious post 2015 framework.

“Children need to be in the forefront of these discussions; especially the children who missed out on the success of the MDGs are at risk of being forgotten again. They are the ones who bear the brunt of atrocities and consequences from civil conflicts and humanitarian crises,” adds Bandi-Phillips.

Assistance needs to be scaled up

The crisis in Syria has affected over 6.6 million children. Not only have those that have been affected lost their family, friends and homes, but many have had to witness or experience unspeakable violence. Things will continue to get worse unless world leaders agree to scale up assistance and deal with the roots of the problems.

G7 leaders need to be ambitious

Each year approximately 6.3 million children under the age of five die around the world, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in the most fragile conflict prone places. Ms. Bandi-Philips says it is these children who suffer the most and should be seen as the priority. She adds that G7 leaders have an opportunity to enact goals designed to ensure no child dies from preventable causes and end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

“These leaders will sign up to new goals in September. They have already contributed to the success of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, and the number of children dying from preventable deaths. But they need to use their power to ensure that come September, the children who live and die invisible to the systems that could help them, are not ignored once again.” Ms. Bandi-Phillips said.


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World Vision Launches Emergency Appeal For Victims Of Nepal Earthquake

World Vision

Teams from World Vision have been working on the huge task of coordinating aid efforts to provide help to those who have been worst affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal. The organisation has sent a team to examine the extent of the damage which took them several hours by vehicle and then a half day trek despite the distance of less than 50 miles.

Lots of rubble

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, World Vision staffers described roads in Kathmandu as being blocked by rubble and debris as well as older toppled buildings. The more modern buildings in the city remained standing, however few were inhabited because people were afraid that the structures were safe. Despite the fact that Nepal sits in a region that is prone to earthquakes, many of the country’s villages and towns are simply not prepared to deal with an earthquake of this size, according to World Vision Nepal employee Matt Darvas.

“Villages in the areas affected near the epicentre are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction. Many of these villages are only accessible by 4WD and then foot, with some villages hours and even entire days walks away from main roads at the best of times. It will likely be helicopter access only for these remote villages,” Darvas said.

“Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides and it’s not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1000 people to be completely ‘buried’ by rock falls. We are slowly hearing reports that this may have been the case in villages in the Kaski and Gorkha regions. Delivery of medical assistance will also be a challenge. Health posts are often rudimentary in the village districts with limited services, and are not even always staffed by a registered doctor. Some villages rely on being able to access the health posts of surrounding villages. If they are ‘cut off’, it’s possible that entire villages are without medical assistance right now. ”Darvas added.

Emergency assistance

World Vision’s initial response to the plight of 50,000 people includes meeting their most pressing needs such as providing temporary shelter, blankets, sleep mats and first aid kits. The agency is also providing protection for children by setting up three child friendly spaces in order for kids to have a safe place to play.

Nepal is vulnerable

Experts say that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to earthquakes. As such World Vision has been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities in Nepal as well as running workshops for schools that seek to cut down on the risks from these natural disasters. The aid agency has launched an emergency appeal for to help the worst affected in Nepal and is calling on the general public to help with donations.

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Amnesty International Calls On UK Government To Do More For Saudi Arabian Blogger

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is urging the UK government to demand the freedom of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi. Unfortunately so far the government has responded with a muted response, saying only that they disagree with the public torture of Mr. Badawi. Many government ministers have condemned the public flogging of Mr. Badawi when the issue was put to them, however this was the least they could do given the UK has a policy of condemning torture and corporal punishment.

UK government must speak out

Amnesty International wants the government to more than speak out about the punishment, but also wants it to address the crime with which Mr. Badawi is charged and call for his freedom. David Cameron paid a visit to Saudi Arabia after the death of the Saudi king. Whilst Mr. Cameron praised the leadership of the late king he failed to make any mention of the many human rights abuses committed by the regime.

Public flogging

Mr. Badawi is a prisoner of conscience and was imprisoned simply for advocating for free speech. On the 9th of January he was lashed 50 times and continues to remain in jail awaiting his next set of lashes. The authorities in Saudi Arabia intend to publicly flog Mr. Badawi on a weekly basis until he has received 1000 lashes.

Freedom of speech

The reason for the sentence is Mr. Badawi’s conviction for creating the Saudi Arabian Liberals website which he saw as a platform for political and social debate. He was first arrested in June 2012 and was subsequently convicted of breaking Saudi Arabia’s strict technology laws and insulting Islam in May 2014. Mr. Badawi received a ten year prison sentence, 1,000 lashes and a fine that exceeded a quarter of a million US dollars.

The UK has the chance to make a difference

Despite public condemnation and an international outcry with over a million people signing the Amnesty International petition demanding that Saudi Arabia free Mr. Badawi, authorities in that country have refused to release him. The UK government must use its influence as a key trading partner and publicly speak out about the case and call for his release.

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