Birdfair, the UK’s biggest wildlife event spread over three days, is gearing up for another year with a line up of over 180 wildlife talks and events.

The event runs from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in the UK.

Cared for by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water, the wetland regularly holds in excess of 25,000 waterfowl.

On the Friday evening Chris Packham, Carrie Symonds, Deborah Meaden, Hannah Stitfall, Isabella Tree, Philip Lymbery and Tony Juniper will be hosting a Question Time session looking at the current state of wildlife, chaired by Dominic Dyer.

Simon King will be giving a talk on living lighter will look at how we can change the world one step at a time.

On Saturday there are opportunities planned for visitors to discover how to take the first steps in a range of careers. A range of passionate conservationists, including broadcasters Mike Dilger and Mary Colwell, will be giving talks about how they got started. Visitors will be able to chat to young conservationists in a variety of roles in career speed dating sessions, and have a chance to polish their CVs with expert advice.

Quiz sessions will be running in the form of Would I Fly To You and Bird Brain of Britain hosted by Stephen Moss, Iolo Williams’ talk on "Life before Telly" and Angie and Jonathan Scott’s Big Cat Tales.

Other treats in store include wildlife cruises on Rutland Water, the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards with Chris Packham, local food markets and for young families a production of The Lion King.

Founder and manager of the event Tim Appleton said: "There’s really something for everyone this year.

"Whether you’re a Birdfair regular or a first time visitor, this is going to be a fantastic three days. And it’s worth remembering that everyone visiting is making a real difference by contributing towards wildlife conservation projects."

Each year the event raises vital funds for conservation across the planet, through entry ticket sales and a charity auction. This year’s event will fundraise for BirdLife International’s “Conserving Cambodia's Big Five” project.

This project will benefit Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary, a forest in the Mekong basin that stretches across the border between Cambodia and Laos. The site is notable for its unusually high concentration of Critically Endangered species; five in total, including the towering Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis, and three declining vulture species: White-rumped, Slender-billed, and Red-headed.

Birdfair is jointly promoted by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.

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