Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Environment

Abu Dhabi to assist wildlife conservation groups by helping them pay salaries and rents

Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund will distribute the Covid-19 relief grant in two rounds

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is offering emergency grants to help conservation groups struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund will provide up to Dh91,800 ($25,000) to help cover salaries, rent and operating costs for severely affected organisations working in species conservation. It will prioritise small, locally based grassroots groups.

The announcement follows an April survey of more than 300 grantees in 85 countries.

It’s clear that conservation organisations cannot protect threatened species if they cannot meet basic needs like staff salaries and rent.

Razan Al Mubarak

More than half of respondents said they were already experiencing financial difficulties, with one in five reporting their organisation planned to eliminate jobs.

Financial strain was partially due to the closure of parks and zoos, a drop in ecotourism and lower student enrolment in courses and fieldwork.

"It’s clear that conservation organisations cannot protect threatened species if they cannot meet basic needs like staff salaries and rent,” said Razan Al Mubarak, the fund’s managing director.

“The fund has always been dedicated to keeping conservationists in the field. Allowing conservationists to lose their jobs or their organisations to collapse would be detrimental to fulfilling our long-term mission.”

Since 2009, the Abu Dhabi based fund has provided more than Dh73.4 million ($20m) in small, targeted grants for thousands of on-the-ground conservation projects in more than 180 countries.

Projects have included the discovery of a long-horned bee (Eucera longicornis) colony in the UK, a rush to save the world’s rarest duck from extinction in Madagascar and the search for a missing species, the Itatiaia highland frog (Holoaden bradei), in the mountains of south-eastern Brazil.

“Our hope is that other foundations and philanthropists join the MBZ Fund in easing restrictions so conservation organisations can make it through this challenging time and weather the economic impact of the pandemic,” said Ms Al Mubarak.

Covid-19 relief grants will be distributed in two rounds.

The deadline for the first-round is October 31 and successful applicants will receive funding at the end of the December.

The deadline for the second round is February 28. Successful applications will receive funding before May 2021.

More information on grant application guidelines can be found here.

Updated: October 14, 2020 02:56 PM

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