Discover more about our international conservation grants from 2014-2019.

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.

See the list of previous conservation grant recipients and how the grants have helped improve the outcomes for wildlife.

2019-20 grants

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.

2018-19 grants

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.

Mountain Gorilla looking next to camera

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.

Two children holding up a drawing of a Wild Dog

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.

Woman holding up milk bottle, surrounded by chimps

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.

Mongolian Bankhar Dog standing in rock and snow field

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.

Bat hanging upside down

2017-18 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 Orangutans

Orangutans 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 orangutans 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 Orangutan. Villagers in extremely remote Tumbang Tohan and Tumbung Nahan are the strongest advocates for protecting the Forest and its wildlife, including orangutans. The project worked directly with more than 200 villagers to release up to 20 orangutans 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 Orangutans

Loss of forest habitat is one of the most significant threats to orangutan 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 orangutans. 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 orangutans in Borneo.


2016-17 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 >>

2015-16 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.

2014-15 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.

2013-14 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.