We have all been riveted and alarmed by recent news from the Caribbean, where a succession of powerful hurricanes has ravaged islands from Dominica to Cuba. While we are relieved to report that none of VCE’s partners in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or Puerto Rico suffered serious harm or property loss, impacts have been profound throughout the region. Life has been dramatically altered for many individuals and communities, while the storms’ ecological impacts may not be fully known for some time. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria have surely taken a toll on resident and migrant birds, not to mention other wildlife and their habitats.
VCE is eager to share news of a crucial relief effort—for both humans and wildlife—organized by our friends and colleagues at BirdsCaribbean. Their Hurricane Relief Fund is raising funds that will be distributed to bird conservation partners across the Greater and Lesser Antilles islands to help them get back on their feet and replace what was lost in the storm—from notebooks, materials and binoculars to offices and infrastructure. This Fund will also support field surveys to assess the status of endemic, resident and many migrant species, as well as recovery and habitat rehabilitation actions by our partners, such as planting native trees that feed birds and provide habitat.
While little is known about the true impacts of hurricanes on migrant bird populations, you can read here about one innovative study underway.
Please give whatever you can to help people and wildlife devastated by these hurricanes — every contribution helps, no matter its size. As of 26 September, nearly $30,000 has been raised, a remarkable response! BirdsCaribbean and VCE offer sincere thanks to those who have already donated generously.
To stay updated on BirdCaribbean’s hurricane relief efforts, you can follow their blog, newsletter, and Razoo funding page. This is a fantastic organization doing truly important work throughout the Caribbean.
Let’s all do what we can to ensure the well-being of human and wildlife inhabitants of the Caribbean during the days, weeks and months ahead.