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. Applications for the 2020 Conservation Grants are now closed. Grants for 2021 will open in August 2020.
Grants awarded by Zoos Victoria in 2018 are supporting five important projects.
Uganda: reducing human health threats to Mountain Gorillas
Mountain Gorillas are threatened by diseases from people, high human population, poverty, habitat degradation, poaching and human-wildlife conflict. Diseases such as scabies have resulted in gorilla deaths, and traced to people living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south-west Uganda who have inadequate access to basic health and other social services. Gorillas also come into contact with people when they leave the Park to forage on community land. Conservation Through Public Health is implementing projects to reduce human-gorilla contact and conflict, which is critical for protecting gorillas and minimizing negative community attitudes towards gorillas and forest conservation.
Zimbabwe: protecting African Wild Dogs through community anti-poaching patrols
The African Wild Dog is threatened across its range by direct poaching, indirect killing from snares laid for other wildlife, disease, human encroachment, competition from larger predators, and negative attitudes from people. The total wild population has declined from a historic estimate of more than 500,000 to 5,000-6,500. Political instability in some countries within the species range also exacerbates these issues. In Zimbabwe, Painted Dog Conservation is implementing an effective snare removal and patrol program. Community-based volunteer anti-poaching units are the core of PDC’s program and this project will strengthen implementation in Hwange National Park and nearby Gwayi Conservancy, which have up to 350 Dogs.
Democratic Republic of Congo: reducing threats to gorillas and chimpanzees through sustainable coffee production
Kahuzi-Biega National Park, in eastern DRC, is one of the last remaining habitats for Eastern Lowland Gorillas and Eastern Chimpanzees. Following decades of armed conflict and political instability, the local economy has suffered greatly, resulting in high levels of poverty and people-driven threats to the Park and its wildlife, including great apes – bush-meat hunting, artisanal mining and agricultural expansion. The Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre established the Arabica Bio Coffee Project in 2017 to reduce threats to apes and the Park habitats through providing a sustainable alternative livelihood. A particular focus is the 400 women coffee farmers of the Ecolo-Femmes Kabare Women’s Cooperative. Operations at the Lwiro Centre are facilitated by the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance.
Mongolia: protecting Snow Leopards and other wildlife through Bankhar Livestock Guardian Dogs
During the Soviet era, wildlife protection across the remote Mongolian steppes was dismantled and traditional livestock management practices broke down or were directly discouraged. Wildlife (such as Snow Leopard and wolves) and herder communities suffered. The Mongolian Bankhar Dog (MBD) is an ancient breed that has been a key part of community life on the Mongolian steppes for generations, protecting livestock from predators – they were eliminated during the Soviet period. The Nomadic Guardians Foundation’s MBD Project in southern Mongolia aims to reinvigorate the cultural significance of these dogs, re-establish their role in protecting livestock and establish community-based protection of Snow Leopards in areas where other conservation ngo’s are not active. The dogs provide herders with a livestock protection mechanism that does not involve killing predators such as Snow Leopards.
Armenia: preventing extinction of the Armenian Whiskered Bat
The Armenian Whiskered Bat is on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. It only occurs as a single population occupying about 5-10km² in the Geghama Mountains in central Armenia. The most recent estimate of the wild population is less than 40 bats. The bat is threatened by encroachment of farming communities and tourism, which impact the bat’s breeding sites; and a planned expansion of the nearby Lake Sevan, which will flood buildings that are roost sites for about 50% of the bat’s wild population. Green Age is an Armenian ngo leading protection of the bat and this project is implementing a coordinated program to increase protection of the bat and prevent its extinction.