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2014 Conservation Grants
The first year of Zoos Victoria’s Grants program is themed ‘Wildlife Conservation through Community Engagement’, recognizing the importance of engaging people in protecting wildlife, whilst building social capacity, both of which are critical for the conservation of wildlife. Projects supported through this program demonstrate meaningful on-ground benefits to both wildlife and people.
The Grants program builds on our longstanding commitment to international conservation partnerships through achieving sustainable long-term conservation outcomes for wildlife and our goal to Fight Extinction on a global level.
This year we’ve invested in three projects, selected for their commitment to Fighting Extinction in ways that generate measurable outcomes for both wildlife and people:
Safeguarding lemur habitat in Madagascar
The world’s most endangered primate is not the orang-utan or the gorilla but the relatively unknown Sportive Lemur of Madagascar, with only 50 individuals remaining. Sportive lemur habitat is under threat from deforestation for charcoal production, which is used as a cooking fuel by the local community.
The program aims to restore sportive lemur habitat through a community operated nursery and reforestation program and reduce the communities need to cut down trees for charcoal production by making and using fuel efficient stoves and fuel briquettes. Zoos Victoria has awarded $20,000 to the Sportive Lemur program. This money will help the Sportive Lemur survive through facilitating educational material, workshops and outreach events for the local community. Focusing on fuel efficient stoves and the importance of the long term survival of the Sportive lemur and its habitat is not just important for the future of Madagascan wildlife but for the future of the Malagasy people. The funding will also provide logistical support and staff salaries.
Restoring lion populations in Namibia
One of the greatest threats to lion populations in Africa is retribution killing from human wildlife conflict situations. This is usually as a result of lions attacking livestock which underpin the livelihoods of local communities. In the Zambezi region of Namibia, lion populations are slowly growing but increasingly this is bringing these magnificent cats into conflict with local farmers as the lions predate on livestock in the absence of more suitable prey species.
The program aims to protect the livestock of local farmers through the construction of lion proof cattle yards, thereby reducing incidents of lion attacks; improve grazing methods to restore prey species for lions and quality of cattle for market sales and identify and fit potential problem lions with GPS collars in order for these lions to be tracked and monitored as an early warning system for local cattle owners. Zoos Victoria has awarded $20,000 to the Namibian lion program. This money will assist in purchasing lion GPS collars, building lion proof cattle yards and supporting the operations of the community game guards. These actions will help to restore lion populations in the Zambezi region, as well as allowing lions to disperse into the conservancies surrounding the communities without posing any threat to people and their livelihoods.
Program partners: Panthera
Protecting the Fatu Hiva Monarch in French Polynesia
The Fatu Hiva Monarch is endemic to Fatu Hiva Island and the most endangered bird in French Polynesia, with a population of only 36 birds in 2013. The greatest threats to this rare and beautiful bird are the introduced populations of cat and rat species to the island, which prey on fledging birds. This in combination with the loss of habitat, due to the expansion of community banana plantations, is resulting in the rapid decline of this unique species.
The program aims to continue community based monitoring of bird populations and ensure fledging survivorship through the control of cat and rat populations and establish fruit tree farming, sandalwood production and bee keeping instead of banana plantations as a more sustainable source of income for the community. Zoos Victoria has awarded $10,000 to the Fatu Hiva Monarch program. This money will assist in purchasing bee keeping and tree nursery equipment, cat traps and supporting local staff in their operations. Protecting Fatu Hiva Monarch habitat and safeguarding birds from predation will assist in the recovery of this unique bird and will provide sustainable income generation for local communities.
Program partners: Societe d’orthologie de Polynesie- Association Manu (SOP Manu)