White-bellied Heron Programme
Through our research, we became aware of the plight of the White-bellied Heron – an extremely rare, little understood bird. It is the second largest heron species in the world and one of the world’s rarest birds (Critically Endangered – with fewer than 60 known birds) with a range that includes Bhutan, China (uncertain), India and Myanmar.
In addition to its extreme rarity, it faces a plethora of threats: large-scale hydropower development, pollution, mining and extraction, collisions with overhead electrical cables, hunting and climate change. As we investigated the plight of the White-bellied Heron further, it was clear that in order to prevent the extinction of this species, a significant increase in action and coordination would be needed.
Synchronicity Earth co-hosted and funded a species conservation planning workshop in India in 2014 which led to the creation of a Species Conservation Strategy and the IUCN SSC White-bellied Heron Working Group (within the Heron Specialist Group). To make this effective staff time was needed – we incorporated the Working Group into our every day work so that the International Coordinator is a member of the Synchronicity Earth team.
The White-bellied Heron Working Group’s function is to act as a coordinating body to ensure an active and strategic approach to the conservation of the White-bellied Heron. The Working Group brings together dedicated individuals from research institutions, non-governmental and governmental organisations. It comprises people from all White-bellied Heron range states, as well as those offering additional required expertise and support. Synchronicity Earth has played an instrumental role in providing expertise within range states (such as in captive breeding, hydropower, satellite transmitters), provided direct funding and helped with fundraising, hosted and coordinated a number of meetings and workshops and arranged training for key members of the Working Group.
We are committed to saving this species from extinction and in doing so protecting its riverine and forest habitats on which it relies, in some of the world’s least-known places.