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The tiny orange-breasted waxbill has suffered massive population declines. One man’s epic and daunting solo bicycle journey will raise the profile of this avian jewel, and make a real difference for this tiny little bird.

orange-breasted waxbill
© Chris Krog

Mr. Eelco Meyjes, who is a member of both BirdLife South Africa and the Rare Finch Conservation Group, will attempt to do a solo cycle ride from Cape Town, going via Botswana all the way up to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, starting on 15 March 2015. He is doing this to help launch a new conservation project for this tiny little orange finch.

orange-breasted waxbill conservation
© Chris Krog

Not yet listed as threatened the unexpected declines in the orange-breasted waxbill has resulted in the urgent need for the species to be researched. The species has now been selected by BirdLife South Africa as the key sentinel (watchdog) bird for South African wetland bird species including 8 threatened and 84 common bird species. The 8 Red-listed species, ranging from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered, plus all 84 common bird species that use a similar habitat to the orange-breasted waxbill, will all benefit from the BirdLife South Africa and Rare Finch Conservation Group research collaboration.

waxbill conservation
© Chris Krog

He will attempt to do this important fundraising cycle ride in 40 days.

You can help him with this conservation project by either:

1. Making a donation, no matter how big or small to:

Rare Finch Conservation Group,

Nedbank,

Account number 1933198885

SWIFT JJ,

Sandown Branch 193 305,

South Africa

.. or…

2. Participate in the ALL OR BUST pledge. A minimum pledge amount of R500 will be required to be part of the fun. If Mr. Eelco Meyjes makes it all the way to Vic Falls then you will need to pay the money and you will WIN a lovely souvenir coffee mug to thank you for your support. If he doesn’t make it to Vic Falls you will owe absolutely nothing!!! To participate in this ALL OR BUST pledge bicycle ride simply SMS your pledge amount of R500 or more, plus full name and contact details to 082 457 4936 or e mail editor@avitalk.co.za.

waxbill
© Chris Krog

You we will be able to track the ride online on the NEVAREST website. NEVAREST has kindly sponsored a satellite tracking system to help support nature conservation.

Rani Bazaruto

Shenton Safaris
Africa Geographic Editorial

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.