Fund awards $1 million to conservation projects

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Fund awards $1 million to conservation projects

In eastern India, when a child is born turtles are brought as offerings to the temples’ ponds in the belief that this will extend the longevity of the newborn. Biologists now want to conduct surveys in the ponds of Assam temple, hoping to find critically endangered turtles in the wild. If verified, they may use the temple turtles to help save their wild brethren.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

This is one of about 300 fund requests that Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MZSCF) received this summer and one of the 80 it granted funds to. The project has been granted $5,000 from the fund.

In this second of its three rounds of funding planned for 2012, the MZSCF awarded $500,000 to species conservation projects across the world this month. This brings the total amount distributed this year to $1 million. The species conservation grants will help protect plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates and fish from the continuing threat of extinction.

“We were able to offer our support to only 26 per cent of requests. It is very apparent that world’s threatened species are under increasing pressure. We wish we could give away more money to support species conservation,” said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, managing director of the fund.

Among the other 80 projects supported by the MZSCF this autumn, conservationists will investigate the Juan Fernandez diving beetle in Chile, the sturgeon poaching in the Caspian Sea, and record the ultrasonic vocalisations of a small primate called the Spectral Tarsier, which lives in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

This time around, there were no funds for the UAE or other Arab Gulf conservation projects.

“We don’t have that many applications from the UAE because most conservation projects are already funded by government bodies, such as the dugongs conservation of Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi,” explained Kirk Duthler, head of business development at the MZSCF. “The Emirates Wildlife Society’s signature conservation project, the Hawksbill turtle, was funded by us earlier this year, and last year we gave funds to two professors from UAE University for their two separate researches in Jebel Hafeet and the Socotran Cormorant,” he told Khaleej Times.

The MZSCF did award, though, a couple of funds for the Middle Eastern projects this month, one for investigating Syria’s sociable lap wing, a critically endangered bird, and another one for Iran’s Euphrates soft shell turtle.

“Consistent with the strong tradition of philanthropy in Abu Dhabi, the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund seeks to support the champions of species conservation — those individuals in the villages and field stations who are committed to conserving their local and the world’s threatened species,” added Al Mubarak.

Since its establishment in 2008, the fund has distributed more than $8 million to almost 800 projects worldwide.

The next deadline for funds is October 31, with grants being revealed towards the end of the year, and in 2013 the first deadline for applications is the end of February, with funds being announced in April-May.

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