Champions of Flyway

Kuzuko Lodge has partnered with the local birding team, The Birding Ecotours - World Youth Birders, as they head to compete in the "Champions of the Flyway" event to be hosted in Israel in March this year, in order to continue to raise awareness and understanding of the plight of migratory birds and the illegal killing of them across the Adriatic Flyway.

As part of its involvement, Kuzuko Lodge a member of Legacy Hotels and Resorts, is calling on patrons and conservation enthusiasts to join the cause and donate to the local team as they raise awareness of the 50,000 common quails that are killed annually on their migration. The team is made up of John Kinghorn and Toni Geddes from South Africa, James Shergold from the UK and Jean-Michel Blake from Zimbabwe.

"Migratory birds have a literal highway in the sky which they use as they migrate from and too warmer climes throughout the year. Many of these birds make up our very own bird population, such as the common quail, black and white storks as well as the European roller, to name a few," states John Kinghorn, a member of the World Youth Birders. "But their livelihood is threatened as they are literally murdered in the sky as they make their way to their breeding grounds.

"Each year the Champions of the Flyway has an event to raise awareness and much needed funds for a specific breed of bird that is affected by this slaughter, this year it is the common quail and the organisers have teamed up with BIOM (Birdlife Croatia) and the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (Birdlife Serbia) to try and tackle the burning issues of illegal killing and trapping of birds along the Adriatic Flyway. This year will mark the first year that we as the World Youth Birders will join the event, in a bid to help the birds we are seeing the population of dwindle in massive numbers, before they make it back to our shores right here in South Africa," adds Kinghorn.

In 2017 over 200 people joined the race in a bid to "keep the common birds common". The message is clear, if we don't do something about the killing of birds there will be none left as over 25 million birds are killed illegally over the Mediterranean each year, in what Kinghorn calls "the massacre over the Mediterranean.

Teams from all over the world will once again assemble in Eilat in late march 2018 to race for the Champions of the Flyway crown. The race itself will take place on Monday March 26th 2018 with the closing and awards ceremony the following morning. The "race" takes place over 24 hours and the crown of Champions of the Flyway is awarded to the team that records the most species in 24 hours.

Other awards include Guardians of the Flyway which is awarded to the team that generates the most funding for this year's conservation action project: stopping the illegal killing of birds in Croatia and Serbia; and Knights of the Flyway, awarded to the team which does the most to promote the cause and helps others to see the most birds and get the most enjoyment out of the event.

"Kuzuko is proud to be aligned to the World Youth Birders and are looking forward to welcoming them here at the lodge between 8 - 11 March 2018, as they walk our guests through their involvement in the project as well as the predicament these birds find themselves in. These birders speak to the very heart of what we as Kuzuko stand for, namely love, conservation and community, and we are looking forward to hosting them here while we also try and raise funds towards the plight of the many birds that are affected by these illegal killings," states Catherina de Lange, general manager at Kuzuko Lodge.

"We are also looking forward to a mini bird spotting race right here at the lodge with the team, highlighting to guests just how diverse the birds of our unique biosphere here at the confluence of the Karoo and the Garden Route are," ends de Lange.

You can contribute to this event by attending the Kuzuko Birding Weekend from 9-11 March 2018 or donate to the cause at the Birding Ecotours World Youth Birders JustGiving page.

For more information on the event contact John Kinghorn on jdbirding@gmail.com or make a booking to visit with the team at Kuzuko by contacting kuzukorm@legacyhotels.co.za. Day visitors are welcome.

Useful links:

https://www.facebook.com/WYouthBirders/
https://www.facebook.com/kuzukolodge/
http://www.champions-of-the-flyway.com/
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/flyway-champions-birdingecotours-wyb