Chasing Smiles

Smile for Julia Pierini

Smile for Julia Pierini

– Vice President of BirdLife Zimbabwe

“The reason I do what I do is that I can’t bear to watch it go. In the last 10 years I have seen a drop in numbers across bird species. The environment is changing. It is not natural. People are doing this. For example, there used to be Darters all over Lake Chivero in great numbers. In four years, due to over fishing and netting they have gone. Gone. The lake itself is eutrophic, there isn’t enough oxygen, it is dead. People certainly should not be eating the fish from Chivero – you will get lung cancer. We need to do something and do something now before it is too late.” – Julia Pierini

Julia is one of those rare individuals who go through life with a deep sense of purpose. You can see it in her eyes, hear it in her voice and feel it in her presence. She is wholly and utterly dedicated to the protection of wildlife spaces and its inhabitants. Spend just five minuets with Julia and she will completely convince you of the importance of protecting birds and the spaces you find them in as vital for the survival of humanity. If each of us had just a 10th of her vision and understanding, the world would be a remarkably different place. Birds, being particularly sensitive to habitat change, provide valuable and visible indications to the health of the environment. The BirdLife Zimbabwe team work tirelessly to promote discussion and action regarding climate change on a national and international level. Their projects look to improve the management and conservation of the Chimanimani-Nyanga Mountains biodiversity corridor, the Driefontein Grasslands and the wetlands of Harare – if the wetlands continue to be destroyed, approximately 6.5 million people in Harare and surrounding areas will be without water supply. BirdLife Zimbabwe endeavour to conserve and protect the Blue Swallow, Wattled Crane, Grey Crowned Crane, Secretarybird and Vulture species. Locally, the group is involved in ongoing conservation efforts, ringing, atlassing projects and important environmental education and awareness programmes for schools and youth. The work BirdLife International do is instrumental to the wellbeing of future generations in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world.

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