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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbrian man to run 1,000 miles to help save turtle dove

A bird-lover will run at least 1,000 miles – including 14 marathons – to help save a rare creature.

Tristan Reid photo
Tristan Reid

Wildlife enthusiast Tristan Reid, 38, has made the pledge to raise funds for Operation Turtle Dove.

The challenge, called 1,000 Miles in Memory of Martha, was conceived to help build on research into turtle doves’ breeding grounds and migration, as well as establishing feeding habitats.

It is named after Martha, the last passenger pigeon which died in Cincinatti Zoo on September 1, 1914.

Mr Reid, of Wigton, said: “This is a sad reminder of the massive and avoidable impact humans have on this fragile planet.

“Roll on 100 years and here in the UK we are facing a similar situation with the once-common turtle dove.

“This species has declined by a staggering 93 per cent since the 1970s.

“It was once common throughout much of England and yet it is now restricted to very small areas of East Anglia and the south east.”

Mr Reid will be doing most of his training runs in Cumbria, as well as planned marathons in other parts of the UK.

He will take on the London Marathon, Shakespeare Marathon, Ennerdale 50k Ultra and also the Saxon Shore Marathon.

The runs, which he will do over the space of a year, will be logged using a GPS watch, which he will upload to tracking website Strava and his own website.

Mr Reid has a great interest in nature, having discovered 90 different species of moth in his garden.

In the past he has tattooed his arms with images of Turkish birds for charity.

He said: “The reasons for the turtle dove’s decline runs parallel to the passenger pigeon – habitat loss and hunting across its range.

“The turtle dove could be heading the same way as the passenger pigeon.

“I am adamant that we should not forget this terrible event and not forget Martha, who was the last of her kind.”

For more information on Mr Reid’s campaign visit www.theinkednaturalist.co.uk and to donate go to www.justgiving.com/1000milesinmemoryofMARTHA.

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