Blogs for June 2021

Pioneering shipwreck treasure hunters celebrated at Charlestown museum

Posted on Monday 28th June, 2021

Pioneering shipwreck treasure hunters celebrated at Charlestown museum

Six ground-breaking shipwreck treasure seekers responsible for locating and salvaging thousands of artefacts are being celebrated in a new exhibit unveiled at Charlestown’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum.

This band of early undersea explorers began locating shipwrecks and salvaging their contents in earnest in the 1960s. The museum owes its existence to the pioneering adventurers who brought long lost artefacts back to dry land that provide an incredible insight into the past.

Four of the six original adventurers, Richard Larn OBE, Bridget Larn, Peter McBride and Rex Cowan attended the official opening of the feature recognising their hazardous exploits at the museum.

Former Royal Navy diver, Richard Larn and his wife Bridget are no strangers to the Charlestown attraction which they established in 1976 and ran until 1998. The couple are regarded among Britain's leading historic shipwreck experts and have written more than 65 books on the subject.

Diving enthusiast Peter McBride met Richard Larn whilst posted at RNAS Culdrose and became hooked on finding shipwrecks and their treasures. One of Peter’s notable discoveries was the wreck of the Santo Christo de Costello in 1969. The Genoese merchant vessel was driven ashore near Mullion Cove in a storm on its maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Genoa in 1667.

Swapping a career in law in the 1960s for treasure hunting, Rex Cowan sought the most difficult to find wrecks. He worked alongside his late wife, Zélide, who was also an expert on the history of diving and wrecks.

One Rex & Zélide’s substantial recoveries in 1971, after a meticulous three-year search, was the "Hollandia", a Dutch East Indian Company ship that sank off the Isles of Scilly in 1743.

Highly regarded archaeologist Dr Margaret Rule CBE, who died in 2015, completes the six pioneers. Margaret led the project to salvage the Tudor war ship Mary Rose. Margaret’s son Nick represented her at the event.

Lynné Raubenheimer from the Shipwreck Treasure Museum said:

“The museum is home to Europe’s largest private collection of shipwreck artefacts and for more than forty years the thousands of items on display have provided an incredible window to the past for our visitors.

“However, the new Pioneers Gallery focuses for the first time of these six daring men and women who broke new ground in underwater archaeology and exploration. Painstakingly hunting down centuries old shipwrecks and risking their lives to liberate their secrets.

“We were so pleased to welcome the four surviving pioneers, along with Nick Rule, to the unveiling of our new exhibit that celebrates their amazing lives and historic finds.”

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum is open daily from 10am – 5pm, pre-booking of timed entry tickets is recommended at www.shipwreckcharlestown.co.uk.

 

Paradise Park and the World Parrot Trust host meeting on illegal wildlife trade

Posted on Friday 11th June, 2021

Paradise Park and the World Parrot Trust host meeting on illegal wildlife trade

Paradise Park and the World Parrot Trust host meeting on illegal wildlife trade with George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for the Environment.

Ahead of the G7 meeting in Carbis Bay, Paradise Park and colleagues from the World Parrot Trust met with George Eustice MP. The UK holds the Presidency of the G7, and the subject of biodiversity and the illegal wildlife trade are high on the agenda.

G7 Environment Ministers met in May and made commitments on halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity. The World Parrot Trust can play a role by providing evidence of the illegal trade in wildlife, the way social media is promoting this, and solutions on how it can combatted.

Wildlife Charity based at Paradise Park

The World Parrot Trust, founded at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, is an international conservation organisation that has been protecting parrots around the world for over 30 years. Parrots are among the most threatened of all groups of birds in no small part due to their popularity as pets.

David Woolcock, Curator of Paradise Park and Trustee of the World Parrot Trust explains “The capture of wild parrots for the global pet trade has driven collapses in wild populations and much of our work at the World Parrot Trust has been focused on ending this mass trade. We spearheaded the successful campaign to stop imports of wild birds into the EU, and continue to work with partners around the world to conserve the world’s most endangered species.”

Opportunity for change

The escalating online trade in wildlife is a major threat to parrots, along with many other species. Given the global nature of this, the solution must be co-ordinated international action. Trading platforms must take responsibility for illegal actions online and real consequences must follow.

The G7 summit provides an enormous opportunity to highlight this issue to world leaders and to showcase the UK’s leadership role in addressing illegal wildlife trade from the 2018 London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, DEFRA’s IWT challenge fund and the United for Wildlife Transport and Financial Taskforces spearheaded by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation.

Alison Hales, Paradise Park Director and Chair of the World Parrot Trust said “We are grateful for the opportunity to tour Paradise Park with George Eustice, discuss the species we work with and present findings and recommendations of our research in conjunction with our international partners.

At the Park we have parrots, toucans, mynah birds all seized by the authorities as they were being transported illegally. We have been pleased to give them a good home but it is sad that some of these were wild birds that should not have been trapped but could not be returned and released.”

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • The World Parrot Trust works closely with partner organisations working on online wildlife trade around the world through the Alliance to Counter Crime Online and the Global Initiative on Transnational Organised Crime.
  • The multifaceted approach to addressing illegal wildlife trade also involves “boots on the ground” projects and we are grateful for the support of UK government’s DEFRA’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge fund for recently supporting work in Cameroon.
  • Paradise Park offers a great opportunity to showcase what Cornwall has to offer the world. A hugely successful family-run attraction that punches far above its weight in driving the global conservation agenda not just for parrots but for all wildlife.

 

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