As human populations grow, wildlife and wild places are increasingly under threat.
Zoos Victoria's international programs and grants have a holistic focus; we work with local communities, government and non-government organisations to achieve sustainable outcomes for people and wildlife. We develop alternative livelihoods and encourage communities to support conservation on the ground. Together, we can all fight for wildlife, everywhere.
We are proud to partner with six conservation organisations, each committed to wildlife conservation on the frontline:
Every year Zoos Victoria gives out a number of Conservation Grants. From small Alligator Lizards in Guatemala to Snow Leopards in Nepal and Pakistan, our grants have helped both people and threatened wildlife since 2013. Due to the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we will not be awarding grants for 2022/23.
Grants awarded by Zoos Victoria in 2019-20 have supported five important projects.
Bolivia: expanding community-based protection of Blue-throated Macaws
The Blue-throated Macaw (BTM) is the world’s most endangered species of macaw, with the wild population comprising just 200 birds in three populations in Bolivia. It was decimated by illegal collection and habitat loss in the 1990s and early 2000s. The village of Loreto is located in heart of the BTM’s range and in early 2017 Loreto, the World Parrot Trust and the Trust’s local partner, and local government designated almost 570,000ha as the Gran Mojos Protected Area (GMPA). This is managed by local stakeholders and protects 35% of the BTM’s wild population and 50% of known nests. A conservation centre built near the entrance to the GMPA has generated strong local interest and engaged the local community in monitoring and protecting the Macaw. Ecotourism based on the Macaw is starting, benefiting the local community and further strengthening local support for the Macaw. A ZV grant will strengthen protection in the GMPA and the successes at that site will be replicated in the Pampas del Yacuma Municipal Protected Area, a newly-established reserve to the north of Gran Mojos.
Colombia: expanding protected areas for Cotton-top Tamarins
The Cotton-top Tamarin only occurs in Colombia. It is Critically Endangered, with a wild population of < 250 individuals (and declining), according to the The Fuverde Foundation. This foundation is working with the University of Sucre, the region’s indigenous people (Arahuac community), and the Colombian Ministry of Environment to establish a 32km² protected ecological corridor for the Tamarin through an administrative resolution from the Arahuac community. The conflict in the region between government forces and paramilitary groups over the past 50 years prevented environmental protection and community support. These ended in 2016 with the peace process, now enabling conservation to proceed. The corridor will expand the globally significant Sierra Nevada de Santa National Park and the project will strengthen community engagement with wildlife and greatly benefit the Tamarin.
Kenya: protecting the Tana River Red Colobus in Kenya’s gallery forests
The Tana River Red Colobus is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world. The last reliable population survey provided an estimate of just over 500 individuals, but continued habitat loss and poaching will have reduced this number. More than 66% of the population occurs in the Tana River National Primate Reserve and its immediate surrounds, in coastal east Kenya. The Reserve is also critical habitat for other threatened species including the Tana River Mangabey (IUCN – Endangered) and the Hirola Antelope (Critically Endangered). The National Primate Institute of the National Museums of Kenya will work with local communities to restore 50% of Colobus habitat in the Reserve and reduce human-colobus conflict and illegal activities that harm the Colobus through strengthening two Community Forest Associations.
Indonesia: facilitating sustainable agroforestry to help Sumatran Tigers
Recent surveys have confirmed the presence of Sumatran tigers in the 44,000ha Batang Angkola Protected Forest, which is connected to the larger Batang Gadis National Park in Indonesia’s North Sumatra Province. Binasari village is one of three villages in Batang Angkola where the illegal harvesting of timber and clearing land for small crops of palm oil is causing significant deforestation, despite its poor returns as the land is unsuitable for oil palm growth. In 2018, the Provincial Government worked with Conservation International (CI) to offer Binasari village a Conservation Agreement, which provides opportunity for the community to develop sustainable pathways that avoid forest loss. As a part of this community agreement, the Zoos Victoria grant will enable CI and the people of Binasari to establish durian fruit on the established agricultural plots. Durian is a far more suitable crop for the village land, and as such offers a sustainable alternative and a more reliable income stream. This shift away from the forest will also limit people-tiger encounters, reducing the likelihood of tigers being injured or killed. The project could be a model for wider application in North Sumatra, with measurable benefits for Sumatran tigers elsewhere.
Indonesia: reducing human-elephant conflict to protect Sumatran Elephants
The Sumatran Elephant is Critically Endangered, with approximately 540 individuals remaining. Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a major factor in Asian Elephant declines across its range and is increasing as more people move into and/or impact elephant habitat. The long-term goal of Perkumpulan Rincong is protection of critical elephant habitat from agricultural encroachment and sustainable mitigation of HEC in Sumatra’s Aceh Province. The aim of this project is establishment of a pilot community initiative in four villages in West Aceh District, for application throughout Aceh Province. The forests in Aceh are part of the larger Leuser Ecosystem, which is the largest area of lowland forest left in SE Asia. However, the forests and their wildlife are under increasing pressure from development and sustainable integration of the needs of people and wildlife will be integral to a positive future for both.