WWF Greece – Programmes and Field Initiatives
In 2012 WWF Greece implemented a number of field initiatives with the support of the A. G. Leventis Foundation, such as habitat restoration for the threatened birds of prey in the Dadia Forest in Evros, research on wind-farm impact on raptors in Thrace, maintaining critical monitoring activities of the Caretta caretta sea turtles on the island of Zakynthos and embarking on a Mediterranean marine initiative in collaboration with other WWF offices. The organisation set up a crisis ‘watchdog’ facility, undertaking international policy interventions and parliamentary advocacy, while the legal support team handled a total of 144 cases brought to its attention by citizens and other NGOs. WWF Greece’s integrated web-mapping application www.oikoskopio.gr was further developed, while its environmental education programmes reached 170 schools around Greece.
Cyprus Forestry College, Prodromos, Limassol Region
Located in the village of Prodromos and surrounded by extensive forested land, the Cyprus Forestry College was established in 1951 to meet the increasing needs of Cyprus, the Middle East and other countries for the training of supervisory staff in the general principles of forestry practices. In the academic year 2011-2012, two of the A. G. Leventis Foundation’s scholars, nationals of Ghana, who were attending the two-year diploma course in Forestry, completed their studies successfully and were awarded the Institution’s Diploma in Forestry. For the academic year 2012-2013, two new scholarships were offered to students from Ghana, allowing them to benefit from the opportunity of studying at the College. The A. G. Leventis Foundation also contributed to the Students’ Association, thus adding to the welfare and well-being of the College’s students.
RSPB Illegal Bird Trapping – BirdLife Cyprus
The RSPB and BirdLife Cyprus work with local communities and the police and through education and political lobbying to fight illegal bird trapping in Cyprus. It is estimated that 2.8 million songbirds were killed in mist nets and on limesticks across Cyprus in 2011, a figure that, though it represents a decrease on the number of birds killed annually before the campaign started in 2002, underlines the still pressing need to tackle the problem. Since the start of 2012 there has been a welcome reduction in mist-netting activity, with field surveys showing a decrease by 66% since 2011, largely as a result of the campaign, which has resulted in increased enforcement efforts by the authorities and landmark prosecutions of restaurant owners trapping and selling wild birds (ambelopoulia). In 2012 Cyprus' Presidency of the Council of the European Union represented a great opportunity to lobby and influence the Cypriot government, especially in the call for greater action to protect Cypriot wildlife.
Lake Kerkini National Park, Serres Region
Four observatories and two kiosks were constructed in 2012 in the Lake Kerkini National Park with the support of the A. G. Leventis Foundation. The observatories were placed on the south-west embankment of Lake Kerkini, one of the ten ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ (otherwise known as Ramsar Wetlands) in existence in Greece. The observatories, which rise to 4 metres in height, support the infrastructure and promote the ecological values of the National Park. Constructed on the basis of environmental and landscape conservation principles, they contribute to the successful monitoring and patrol of the area. They also help foster awareness by displaying signs with environmental information for visitors and facilitate birdwatching, by scientists and members of the public alike.