U.S. Awards Wildlife Conservation Grants for 60 Countries

baby Orangutan
In Indonesia, a grant to the Wildlife Conservation Society will fund wildlife crime investigations and assist in the prosecution of poachers to protect Sumatran orangutans.

Washington,
February 21,  2012

Partners in 60 countries in six regions will share nearly $15.5 million in wildlife conservation grants from a U.S. agency to protect endangered wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is awarding the grants through its Wildlife Without Borders program. “These grants provide crucial assistance in the effort to prevent extinction by reducing threats to species survival and increasing the capacity of communities to value, conserve, and manage their wildlife,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “The Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program funding is vital to saving some of our fastest disappearing and most treasured species, empowering people to help conserve key habitats, and form innovative conservation partnerships worldwide.”

The $15,484,700 in grant funding will leverage more than $22 million in matching funds through partnerships with more than 170 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, universities and community groups.

Of the $15.5 million total, $12.5 million will conserve tigers, elephants, rhinos, apes, marine turtles, amphibians and other critically endangered species through Wildlife Without Borders-Species grants.

Wildlife Without Borders-Regional grants will provide $2.9 million in support for capacity building and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico, and Russia and East Asia. The Wildlife Without Borders-Global program will also provide $100,000 for migratory species conservation through the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative.

Funding will support a full range of priority conservation activities, USFWS said, including antipoaching, law enforcement, capacity building, community outreach, habitat restoration, disease research and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. For example, in South Africa, CapeNature, a governmental organization, will control invasive pine trees to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire in rough moss frog habitat. In Indonesia, the Wildlife Conservation Society will conduct wildlife crime investigations and assist in the prosecution of poachers to protect Sumatran orangutans. In Colombia, Fundación Proyecto Titi will aid rural communities with sustainable development projects to reduce deforestation in cotton-top tamarin habitat.The Wildlife Without Borders program is based on the fact that species do recognize artificial boundaries — political or otherwise. USFWS says that too often political boundaries cut through specific ranges, fragmenting habitats and species conservation efforts. Further complicating the issue, according to USFWS, is that countries with the most diverse and ecologically significant wildlife often are those with the fewest resources for wildlife conservation.

The result, USFWS says, is that species survival is related directly to their worth to local communities. Therefore, the Wildlife Without Borders program focuses on people by addressing grass-roots problems from a broad landscape perspective using capacity building and strengthening institutions as primary tools.

The three subprograms of Wildlife Without Borders — Species, Regional and Global — have supported more than 1,000 conservation projects in 80 countries from 2004 to 2008.