Hawk in flight landing on tree

28 Nov 2023

Majestic hunters in danger: conserving birds of prey

Investec supports conservation of Critically Endangered species of birds of prey and their habitats by partnering with the Hawk Conservancy Trust.


The Hawk Conservancy Trust and our partnership

Investec’s partnership with the Hawk Conservancy Trust commenced in July 2021. The Trust’s mission is to conserve birds of prey, and the environments they inhabit both in the UK and overseas. Their efforts are focused on conservation, research, education, rehabilitation, and the release of birds of prey. Investec also supports the Trust’s National Bird of Prey HospitalTM, wildlife workshops and their wellbeing education programmes connecting people with nature and aimed at students from local schools who may not usually have access to this type of activity.

Investec’s conservation strategy reflects the group’s focus on climate action and inequality, by protecting critically endangered species and the environments they inhabit. Through our projects we aim to have a positive impact on our natural heritage, by uplifting vulnerable communities living alongside national parks and reserves, and combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, using our business systems and resources. Read more about our conservation initiatives here.

Investec also partners with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) where we support wild dog packs living on the border of the Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) and their Vultures for Africa (VFA) programme in conjunction with the UK’s Hawk Conservancy Trust (the Trust). Both projects have a high impact on not only the rescue and protection of wildlife, but on community awareness, and human wildlife mitigation through community responses to issues.

We also work with the Hawk Conservancy Trust on creating new opportunities to inspire future generations of conservationists by working with local schools, and on understanding the wellbeing and health benefits of engaging with nature.

Investec’s support of the Hawk Conservancy Trust in the past year has afforded them to be able to welcome 125 additional students to their ‘Explore Nature’ days, hire 2 conservation interns, and release 39 further birds back into the wild.

Hawk sitting on handlers glove

The Incubator

Investec's funding of facilities and equipment included an incubator that has enabled the Hawk Conservancy Trust to welcome two Critically Endangered African White-backed Vulture chicks in April 2023. The African White-backed Vulture chicks were hatched at the Trust after a complex and labour-intensive effort by the Bird Team which would not have been possible without the incubator. These chicks are crucial for creating a sustainable safety-net population as the African White-backed Vultures are Critically Endangered with rapidly decreasing populations. It's vital to protect these birds, including our Critically Endangered species, as it would be a devastating loss to the international breeding programmes which they are part of. Read more about these endangered chicks here.

Explore Nature Days

The ‘Explore Nature Days’ provide students aged 12-16, with the chance to experience a wildlife and conservation-focused day at the Hawk Conservancy Trust.  The aim is to connect more young people to the natural world around us and inspire them to conserve it. Since 2021, Investec has provided funding for 268 students to take part in these days. Students learn about their role in the natural world, the importance of conserving nature and biodiversity, and practical wildlife research and fieldwork. They also explore how to find, help, and appreciate nature in their local area. Interactive sessions encourage them to share ideas on conserving nature and inspiring others.

Baby hawk being held by an intern

Internships

Investec also provides funds for students and interns to progress crucial research within the departments of conservation, research, and education at the Hawk Conservancy Trust.  Recently, Investec funded the research at the Hawk Conservancy Trust to investigate the impact of nest box characteristics on microclimate and parasites in Barn Owl and Kestrel nest boxes. Mel Gelderd, an Investec-funded intern, worked with Dr Matt Stevens during the 2023 breeding season to collect samples and inspect chicks. Lisa Davies, another Investec-funded intern, developed methods to assess the benefits of a visit to the Trust and raised awareness of vultures. Holly Puddy, also funded by Investec, will be working on biodiversity monitoring and a short-term project on Long-eared Owls. Read more about the conservation efforts Investec has funded.