World Land Trust has new conservation director

High up in the mountains of New Zealand, Richard Cuthbert takes time out from his conservation proje

High up in the mountains of New Zealand, Richard Cuthbert takes time out from his conservation project on the endangered Hutton's shearwater. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Suffolk market town of Halesworth is now home territory for a much-travelled wildlife expert.

Richard Cuthbert on the steppes of northern Kazakhstan during an international expedition to survey

Richard Cuthbert on the steppes of northern Kazakhstan during an international expedition to survey Arctic-breeding geese that migrate through the country in the autumn. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

It’s been quite a conservation career already. Richard Cuthbert has so far packed more into his working life than most ever will, serving the conservation cause in some of the world’s most exciting wildlife locations.

Now he is taking on a new challenge with one of the most highly respected and internationally effective conservation organisations - and is based in a quiet Suffolk market town.

He is settling in to his important new role as director of conservation for the World Land Trust which, from its Blyth House offices in Bridge Street, Halesworth, works with partners in more than 20 countries around the world, as widely spread as Argentina and Armenia and Peru and the Philippines. The charity protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre, empowering local NGOs by providing finance and technical support to create nature reserves, restore degraded habitats and ensure they are permanently protected.

Warwickshire-born Mr Cuthbert CV would already make most naturalists green with envy. After gaining a degree in zoology at Newcastle University, he studied for his PhD in New Zealand, researching the conservation requirements of the endangered Hutton’s shearwater.

Richard Cuthbert, centre, with other members of an international expedition to Kazakhstan to survey

Richard Cuthbert, centre, with other members of an international expedition to Kazakhstan to survey numbers of Arctic-breeding geese that migrate through the country in the autumn. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant


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He moved on to conservation posts in Mongolia and Papua New Guinea before spending about 10 years with the RSPB, working in the UK and UK Overseas Territories on applied conservation research. He also worked in Nepal and India, helping to save rapidly declining vulture species hard-hit by the effects of ingesting the veterinary drug diclofenac.

After spending about six months working for the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Mr Cuthbert is again turning his considerable conservation expertise to worldly matter, taking up his World Land Trust role.

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He said: “I’ve been aware of the World Land Trust since it was established, right from the days of the brilliant Belize programme (the rainforest fundraising project that brought the charity into being in 1989 when it was founded by conservation giant John Burton, who remains as the trust’s chief executive officer).

“I have always been struck by its impact and the way it operates,” said Mr Cuthbert. “Its impact is huge and strikingly disproportionate to its size but that is because it works so effectively in partnerships with conservation organisations on the ground in the various countries.

Richard Cuthbert with local people on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, during some of his wildlife co

Richard Cuthbert with local people on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, during some of his wildlife conservation work. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

“That is so important – nothing else is going to be as sustainable as that and there are so many proven benefits, so many tangible successes, that these partnerships have achieved for conservation. The trust is there to help and to guide our partners and offer them support and that is what we do.

“I am an optimist but it is all too easy to see the negative impacts of mankind on the planet’s environments – things have been going downhill in this country and abroad for quite some time.

“We know we can impact negatively but equally we can and should bring about positive impacts too. At least now we are beginning to realise what we have lost and what we are still losing and the World Land Trust and our many partners are all about making those positive impacts.”

More information about the work of the trust can be found at www.worldlandtrust.org/

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