Nekane pictured on her way to recovery at Merazonia. Returned to the wild in 2018 as part of a ground breaking woolly monkey release
630 football pitches-worth of Amazonian rainforest will have burnt to the ground during the local festival Jungle Groove – a devastating statistic bringing the reality of the global crisis to Derbyshire.

Merazonia Jungle Groove, which is taking place in Hathersage this month, is the only UK festival raising both awareness and funds to help save animals whose habitat is being destroyed through ongoing deforestation.

With a unique focus on South American rainforests and their protection, ‘this festival could not have come at a more important time’ said event organiser Megan Birch.

BAFTA-winning English naturalist and BBC Presenter Steve Backshall agrees. He is the latest high profile conservationist to support the event, alongside Sir David Attenborough and BBC presenter Chris Packham.

Steve Backshall has sent an exclusive video from the Ecuadorian Rainforest, where he is currently filming, speaking of the urgent need to protect rainforests and support the Jungle Groove Festival in Hathersage on 22nd September.

Steve said:

“These forests are so important. They’re home to an enormous amount of life. They are the lungs of our planet – burning them down is going to fill our atmosphere with CO2 and have huge effects when it comes to human-induced climate change.” 

The Jungle Groove Festival is raising money for Merazonia, a unique wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre in Ecuador which is located on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest. Merazonia returns animals to the wild who have been a victim of the ever-expanding illegal pet trade and on-going deforestation.

Sir David Attenborough, in a handwritten letter to Megan, wrote: ‘I hope the event is a great success,’ and even offered his signature of approval for the event flyers after she contacted him to tell him about Merazonia Jungle Groove.

BBC TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham has also offered his personal support for the Jungle Groove Festival in person after meeting events organiser Megan at a rally on bird of prey persecution last month.

Megan said:

“I have realised that my festival to protect Ecuador’s rainforests and wildlife has taken on an even more urgent role given the terrifying fires blazing through the Amazon right now.

“This is a global ecological crisis that requires urgent action from governments all over the world but there are many things we can all do on an individual level to combat the problem. The first step is to raise awareness and that is what I aim to do through Jungle Groove.”

Merazonia is a charity that is very close to Megan’s heart, as she spent three months volunteering at the shelter last year. Her work there saw her helping nurse injured and abused animals back to health and releasing them back into the protected rainforest.

A wide variety of animals are cared for at the centre, including primates such as Howler and Woolly monkeys, big cats, parrots, otters, anteaters and sloths.

Megan pictured with Chris Packham

Megan, who works as a scuba diver instructor added:

“With more support, Merazonia will be able to open their doors to more animals and purchase more rainforest that is in urgent need of protection.

“Seeing these animals arrive stressed and anxious is obviously one of the worst things you can witness, but seeing them released after being cared for is so incredibly rewarding.”

Megan is hosting Merazonia Jungle Groove Festival at the Hathersage Football Pitch in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire from 3pm onwards on Sunday, 22nd September. Tickets to the event, which will include two stages for live music and talks, eco-friendly stalls, food, drinks, activities for all ages and so much more, are on sale now. All proceeds will be going to the Merazonia wildlife rescue centre in Ecuador.

Search ‘Merazonia Jungle Groove’ on Facebook or visit www.junglegroove.org to book tickets and find out more.