Discover more about our international conservation grants from 2014-2017.

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.

2017 grants

Nepal: Sustaining Snow Leopard conservation through community engagement

Snow Leopards are threatened throughout their range by hunting for their skins and by retaliatory killing by villagers when the cats kill livestock that are not protected from predation. Located in the high Himalayas, this Snow Leopard Conservancy project targets two remote agro-pastoral communities of about 700 households who are marginalized by remoteness, limited access to markets, very rugged terrain and harsh climatic conditions. Villagers were been trained as community-based Snow Leopard Scouts, 6 livestock corrals were predator-proofed (resulting in reduced livestock death and subsequent increase in villager income) and community members trained in monitoring Snow Leopards and their prey species, and habitat conditions.

Botswana: community outreach supporting people-Cheetah co-existence

Over the past century the world’s Cheetah population has declined by 90% due to habitat loss, poaching, increasing human-wildlife conflict and declining prey populations. Almost 80% live outside protected areas. In Botswana the highest Cheetah density is in the Western Kalahari, a critically important connection for dispersed populations to the south, north and west. Cheetah Conservation Botswana worked with 35 farmers to provide Livestock Guardian Dogs to help protect livestock, reduce farmer conflict/ killing of Cheetahs and deliver workshops to improve livestock management and living with carnivores.

Borneo: supporting a newly-released population of Bornean Orang-utans

Orang-utans were hunted to extinction in the Bukit Batikap area of central Kalimantan centuries ago by indigenous hunter-gatherer tribes. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is now working with the ancestors of these people to reintroduce and protect orang-utans from the Nyaru Menteng facility in the 410,000ha Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. In time, this will be one of the 15 largest populations of the Bornean Orang-utan. Villagers in extremely remote Tumbang Tohan and Tumbung Nahan are the strongest advocates for protecting the Forest and its wildlife, including orang-utans. The project worked directly with more than 200 villagers to release up to 20 orang-utans over 2017/18, and develop socially beneficial activities that will benefit everyone in the two villages.

Guatemala: conserving Guatemalan Beaded Lizards through community-based habitat protection

The Guatemalan Beaded Lizard is one of the most endangered species of lizards in the world, with a global population of about 300 individuals. The communities living around Teculutan Forest in eastern Guatemala asked the Foundation for Conservation of Endangered Species of Guatemala and the International Reptile Conservation Foundation to protect the site for its wildlife and as a very valuable source of water. The Forest may contain approximately 100 Beaded Lizards, which will boost the global population by 30%. Almost 10,000 trees were planted for reforestation and 1,100 school children actively participated in conservation education projects.

Rwanda: protecting Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

The impact of very poor human communities represents the greatest threat to Mountain Gorillas. Coordinated engagement with villagers by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has seen a significant reduction in snares in the Volcanoes National Park and commensurate increase in gorilla numbers. This project focusses on 20 families of the Ba’Twa tribe, the poorest and most marginalised tribe in Rwanda, providing them with land and training in sustainable farming as alternatives to entering the forest to hunt wildlife. A similar project in 2014 resulted in 70% reduction in snares in the Park.

Borneo: restoring habitat for Bornean Orang-utans

Loss of forest habitat is one of the most significant threats to orang-utan survival. With much of the lowland forests occurring on peat, a widespread technique to allow access for logging is digging of narrow canals to drain water from the forest, allowing them to be burnt. This destroys the forest and its wildlife and damages human health, and infrastructure in extreme instances. The 600,000ha Sabangau Forest in Central Kalimantan is the largest un-fragmented area of lowland forest in Borneo and contains ~6,000 orang-utans. In 2018 the Borneo Nature Foundation installed 150 bamboo and timber barriers along the canals, preventing loss of ground-water and drying of the peat. Together with patrols to stop logging, this will contribute to retention of the Forest as a globally significant site for orang-utans in Borneo.


2016 grants

Kenya: Community ranger training strengthens anti-poaching outcomes

Zoos Victoria’s grant to the Thin Green Line and Big Life Foundations funded training of 17 rangers in the Chyulu Hills region of southern Kenya.  Poaching is decimating much of Africa’s wildlife, with its impacts on elephants and rhinoceros receiving global attention. The training focused on bleeding control, as a major cause of ranger deaths globally is uncontrolled bleeding from traumatic injury (including from poachers). Enhanced arrest techniques was the second primary training focus. Addressing these two issues directly benefits action to stop poaching, with clear outcomes for wildlife and people. During the grant period, elephants numbers stabilized at about 2,000 individuals and ranger presence contributed to an increase in lions from 150 to about 180 adults. Read more about the project >> 

Madagascar: Conserving Golden-crowned Lemurs through community tourism

The Golden-crowned Lemur is restricted to remote north-east Madagascar, with less than 500 individuals remaining in small scattered family groups. It is under severe pressure from habitat loss and poaching by people who lack access to sustainable livelihoods and income. Zoos Victoria’s grant to the Time & Tide Foundation and Fanamby, supported the successful translocation of five lemurs from Andranotsimaty village on the mainland to protected habitat on Nosy Ankao Island, where income from eco-tourism will support forest protection and sustainable agro-forestry at the mainland site. The collaborative project is also bringing much needed health care to Andranotsimaty village.

South Africa: Protecting Cheetah through farmer-predator conflict mitigation

Cheetah are now found in only 10% of their historic range. Southern Africa is critical, but there the largest population occurs on privately-owned farmland, where they risk being killed by farmers in retaliation for perceived stock losses. Zoos Victoria’s grant to Cheetah Outreach Trust allowed 16 young Anatolian Shepherd Livestock Guardian Dogs to be placed with farmers. This increased protection of livestock whilst reducing retaliatory Cheetah deaths and significantly growing farmer tolerance of Cheetahs and other predators. The area of ‘Cheetah friendly habitat’ expanded by more than 100,000 ha over the grant period, a wonderful outcome for wild Cheetah. Read more about the project >>

2015 grants

Sri Lanka: Trialing beehive fences to deter Asian Elephants from raiding crops

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported the first measurable Asian trial of beehive fences as a sustainable method to deter Asian Elephants from raiding crops, which impacts farmer income and can lead to injury and deaths of both elephants and people. Although storms and drought delayed installation of the beehives and uptake by the bees, 10 fences were established and early signs are good that they are deterring elephants from entering farms. All participating farmers are effectively maintaining fences and there has been a 60% increase in villager acceptance of co-existing with elephants. This concept has been successful in Africa and we are hoping for a similar outcome in Sri Lanka.

Tanzania: Reducing poaching of giraffe for bushmeat in Ruaha National Park

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported work by Wildlife Connection to establish bee-keeping and chicken farming as sustainable alternative sources of protein and income for people in Kipela village close to Ruaha National Park. This was complemented by very successful teacher training to integrate wildlife conservation in the curriculum and first-time visits of more than 80 villagers to the National Park. Collectively, this resulted in a dramatic decline of bushmeat poaching over 2016, including giraffe.

Kenya: Protecting Cheetah through community integration

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported the Tsavo Cheetah Project, continuing work to protect Cheetah throughout Tsavo National Park, an area of more than 13,000km². Their efforts paid off in 2016, when at least 19 Cheetah were saved from retaliatory killing by farmers. Moreover, livestock deaths verified as being caused by Cheetah declined by 72%. These pleasing outcomes are due to the project’s combined community programs and Cheetah monitoring, particularly through the two additional Cheetah Scouts employed from the local communities. The direct inclusion of these young men in the resolution of farmer conflicts with Cheetah, including through encouragement of ‘Cheetah-friendly’ livestock keeping, is critical for changing perceptions of Cheetah and other local predators.

Guatemala: Conserving Campbell’s Alligator Lizard through habitat restoration and community forest management

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported a significant expansion of tree planting to support recovery of the Alligator Lizard by local communities in partnership with Zoo Atlanta - 10,000 oak trees as lizard habitat and 15,000 fast-growing tree seedlings for the community forest that will provide a sustainable source of timber and firewood into the future. The community education and engagement program was particularly successful, with a 95% increase in villagers becoming supportive of conserving wildlife and the forests. Further, the community has asked for help with protecting and managing one of the largest tracts of remaining forest in the area.

Zimbabwe: Protecting African Wild Dogs and Cheetah through education and community engagement

Zoos Victoria’s grant to the Tikki Hywood Trust supported an expansion of conservation education and community engagement around and within the Gonarezhou National Park and Save Valley Conservancy. This resulted in breeding populations of Cheetah and Wild Dogs persisting in both area, and no reports of either species being killed by communities around the parks. The vaccination program for ‘domestic dogs’ was also effective, as there were no reports of rabies in wildlife populations. School students and teachers rescued a group of Wild Dog pups from drowning; good evidence of the continuing improvement in attitudes of school children towards wildlife and effectiveness of the focus on conservation education.

2014 grants

Ghana: Amphibian conservation through community engagement

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported the conservation of the Togo Slippery Frog endemic to the Atewa Forest Waterways of Ghana. The frog was under threat from habitat destruction and consumption as a food source. Herp Conservation Ghana introduced chicken rearing as an alternative to consuming the frog and supplied water tanks and household water harvesting systems to protect local waterways. The program also focused on conservation education to raise awareness of, and instill local pride in this rare and endemic frog species.

Pakistan: Enabling mountain women for Snow Leopard conservation

Zoos Victoria’s grant supported the conservation of Snow Leopards and other predators of the Chitral Valley in Pakistan. These species were often persecuted in retribution for killing community livestock. The Snow Leopard Foundation chose to protect local predators by building predator proof corals for livestock and through a livestock vaccination and grazing program, helped to increase Snow Leopard’s natural prey items. The Foundation also developed alternative livelihood programs for women particularly in villages with a high number of conflict incidents with Snow Leopard helping to increase tolerance of the Snow Leopards and reduce retribution killings. The project also focused on conservation education in local schools and the broader community.

2013 grants

Madagascar: Safeguarding lemur habitat

Zoos Victoria's grant supported the conservation of the critically endangered Sportive Lemur of Madagascar, under threat from deforestation for charcoal production. The grant funding succesfully supported school projects and outreach education for local children and community members about the value of the ecosystem and the interconnectedness of local lemurs, native trees and people, helping community members reduce their reliance on charcoal. A concluding survey reported 87% of parents understood the importance of lemurs and forest. Find out more about the project in the final report.

Namibia: Restoring lion populations

Zoos Victoria's grant helped to reduce lion-human conflict in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in Namibia, one of the largest lion populations in Africa. The grant funding successfully helped build lion-proof enclosures for local livestock, improve the quality and quantity of grazing available for livestock as well as encouraging native wildlife to return to the area, providing an alternative food source for lions. The grant also assisted in developing a team of guards to help track the lions to develop an early warning system for the locals. Find out more about the project in the final report.

French Polynesia: Protecting the Fatu Hiva Monarch

Zoos Victoria's grant supported the conservation of the Fatu Hiva Monarch the most endangered bird in French Polynesia. The grant funding helped control feral species and develop an alternative income to combat habitat loss due to unsustainable farming practices. The local villages closest to the bird's habitat were targeted with the development of the Bee Keeper training program to manufacture and sell honey in local island areas. Early results have estimated the wild population of the Fatu Hiva Monarch have increased to six breeding pairs, with five successful fledglings.