Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the world's oldest international conservation organisation, has been able to react quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is thanks, in no small measure, to support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
FFI recognises that long-term conservation success hinges on empowering communities, organisations and individuals to protect the biodiversity on their own doorsteps. It works hand in hand with hundreds of partners in over 40 countries to save threatened habitats and species.
In the current crisis, there is a considerable risk that some key local organisations with which FFI works might not survive due to reduced income, restrictions on travel and uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic. This would have a disastrous knock-on effect on elephants, mountain gorillas, pangolins and many more which are now under greater threat from poaching and habitat loss than before COVID-19.
In order to ensure that decades of conservation achievements were not undermined and undone, FFI launched its Partner Crisis Support Fund in May, supported by our players through a special award to FFI vice-president Sir David Attenborough. This funding is providing direct support to conservation partners and local communities in Africa, Asia and Central America.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, FFI's fund is covering the costs of 52 community rangers, who play a vital role in mountain gorilla conservation. As community members, they are based permanently in their villages and are able to carry out patrol activities, remove snares and deter poachers despite movement restrictions.
Communities in the Chuilexi Conservancy in Mozambique live in isolation with no mobile phone networks or social media. To ensure that reliable and up-to-date information reached them, FFI staff and partners printed and laminated posters providing guidance about the virus to all local people, delivered hand-washing stations and also established an initiative to mass-produce face masks for communities.
In Kenya, three decades of conservation effort across a network of wildlife conservancies spanning 6.4 million hectares have reduced poaching and illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn, lion claws, leopard skin and pangolins to a very low level. The Crisis Fund is supporting five conservation organisations in the country, to ensure that this work does not stop.
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