Supporting vital conservation projects around the world
Taronga’s Field Conservation Grants give funding and support to conservation projects that help wildlife, habitats and communities all over the world.
Taronga Field Conservation Grants are open to NGOs, community groups and individuals who have a new or established conservation project that could benefit from funding and expert support. Taronga will support the best in-the-field conservation programs with grants of up to $20,000 from a total of $200,000.
The next round of funding will open in 2024. Please keep an eye on the website for updates or to be added to the email list please send your details through to email@example.com
Since launching Field Conservation Grants in 2008, Taronga has given over $1.1million to 105 projects worldwide, from 72 different organisations. Projects that have benefited from a Taronga Field Conservation Grant have helped to protect and regenerate habitats, stop poaching and trafficking of wildlife and reduce conflict between communities and wildlife living side by side.
Projects are selected by a panel of reviewers from across the organisation, with each project being reviewed by 6 panel members and scores averaged out and calculated to determine conservation efficiency (CE), assessing conservation outcome and project costs. Projects are ranked and the highest scoring projects are selected for funding. More information about project guidelines and criteria for applicants will be available when the next round of funding opens.
Taronga is for the wild. As a not-for-profit, Taronga has an absolute commitment to the conservation and securing a shared future for wildlife and people. Taronga Field Conservation Grants are one more way Taronga is working to achieve that vision.
Recipients from the 2022 round of funding
Finding Soala to save Soala
Saola Foundation for Annamite Mountains Conservation
The Saola was discovered in the forests of Vietnam in 1992 and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, potentially being the world's most endangered terrestrial large mammal. It is endemic to the Annamite Mountains along the border of Vietnam and Laos, estimated to house fewer than 100 Saola across 25,000km2.
Actions to conserve the Soala are critical due to:
- Genetic distinctiveness. As a large mammal in its own genus, one Saola holds a considerable amount of irreplaceable biodiversity in its genes.
- Degree of endangerment – possibly the world's most endangered large terrestrial mammal.
- Paucity of conservation attention. Saola is at much higher risk of extinction than some other animals with much greater levels of funding and attention.
- Conservation flagship of a global biodiversity hotspot, the Annamite Mountains.
Finding Saola and developing effective field techniques to track Saola to allow eventual safe capture, is a challenge that the Saola Foundation was built to meet and have designed a novel, integrated search program, and have assembled a team and international partnerships to implement it successfully.
Restoring the Kafue Flats floodplain in Zambia by preventing the return of an invasive plant
International Crane Foundation (ICF)
The ICF works to safeguard Africa’s cranes by protecting and restoring the wetlands and grasslands on which they, and many human communities, depend. The Kafue Flats wetland in Zambia is a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site), and a recently designated UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, providing critical habitat for endemic, Vulnerable Kafue Lechwe antelope, and the world’s largest population (30% of global total) of Vulnerable Wattled Cranes, other waterbirds of conservation concern (including Endangered Grey Crowned Cranes). It’s also an important migratory staging post for many of its over 470 bird species. The vast Kafue Flats (6500km2) comprise Lochinvar and Blue Lagoon National Parks, and the surrounding Kafue Flats Game Management Area. The Flats are densely inhabited with subsistence farmers, fishers, and pastoralists, whose livelihoods depend on the abundant land and water resources of the open floodplains.
Since the early 1980’s, the Kafue Flats has experienced significant spread of invasive alien plant species – particularly Mimosa pigra, an aggressive, thorny shrub native to South America, which is invasive in many wetlands around the world, adversely affecting native biodiversity by restricting access to food and fresh water, altering local microclimates, and undermining tourism development.
Between 2017-2020 the ICF restored habitat in the Kafue Flats through the removal of Mimosa using a highly effective mix of invasive species control techniques and a community-based approach to ecological restoration that resulted in an increase in rural employment. 2,305ha was cleared of Mimosa, which was 76.8% of the total baseline cover (approximately 3,000ha) in the entire Kafue Flats ecosystem. To ensure previous project gains are maintained, it is essential that previously cleared areas are re-visited, and any Mimosa re-growing from the soil seed bank is removed before it establishes again.
Protecting threatened species and their habitats in South Africa’s Soutpansberg mountains
Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
South Africa’s Soutpansberg Mountains are the country’s most northern range, the southern extent of Africa’s Eastern Afromontane mountain belt. Like many isolated mountains, they are home to a large number of endemic species of insects, plants, reptiles, scorpions and even spiders. The EWT has identified the urgency to protect these mountains due to the numbers of highly-threatened and endemic species, its extraordinary variety of important habitat types, its crucial role as a water factory, and its value as a centre of cultural heritage for many communities. Currently less than 2% of the area is formally protected.
This project aims to enlarge the Soutpansberg Protected Area (SPA), through securing 6000ha of additional conservation land through the use of conservation servitudes (easements). EWT has been working with neighbouring landowners, engaging and educating them on important conservation issues and have jointly formed a landowners association and co-developed a framework management plan with guidelines on conservation management across the mountain.
The EWT proposes, through this project, to initiate Conservation Servitude Agreements with landowners on the western Soutpansberg, which is not only binding with the parties that entered into the agreement, but also on the landowner’s successors in title. Doing so will protect these mountains, the habitats, and species they serve, and the ecosystem services they provide.
Restoring Habitat for Kibale National Park Through Invasive Plant Biomass Briquette Production
New Nature Foundation (NNF)
The focus of this project is in and around Uganda's Kibale National Park, a 795km2 protected area in the Albertine Rift Biodiversity Hot Spot and highlighting the endangered Ashy Red Colobus.
Kibale houses the largest extant population (and likely the only viable population), more than 20,000 of a total population of 25,000 individuals. Having been logged extensively in the past, more than 200km2 of Kibale have been taken over by native (Acanthus pubescens) and non-native (Lantana camara) plants that have kept the natural forest from regenerating in the previously logged areas. By eradicating or greatly reducing these two plant species and encouraging regrowth of the natural forest, habitat for Ashy Red Colobus will be effectively increased. Concurrently, conversion of those two plant species into cooking fuel will reduce the current pressures local human populations are putting on the forest.
Installing a solar-powered cluster fence to prevent elephant crop-raiding in a village in Botswana
Elephants for Africa (EfA)
EfA is a research and conservation organisation working in and around the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park (MPNP) working to conserve African Savannah Elephants and reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) through education, community empowerment and understanding elephant behaviour.
Botswana is home to the largest remaining elephant population. Despite increasing poaching levels, HEC remains the greatest threat to elephant in Botswana, as well as HEC threatening the livelihoods and lives of the agropastoral communities who share the land.
This project focuses on constructing solar-powered electric fences around a cluster of 50 farms across 150ha to protect against crop-raiding elephants. This cluster fence will have effective, long-lasting, and quantifiable conservation impacts by increasing tolerance for elephants at the human-elephant interface by protecting livelihoods, increasing food security, reducing conflict and subsequently helping prevent retaliatory elephant killings.
Tackling nest predation on Regent Honeyeaters: a new approach for bird conservation globally
This project aims to reduce nest predation by native (and threatened) mammalian predators to increase reproductive output of wild Regent Honeyeaters. We will use a new approach known as “olfactory misinformation”. Olfactory misinformation works by undermining the use of the scent cues used by predators to locate prey and has been demonstrated at large scales to improve nest survival in wild birds by over 50% when deployed against a range of omnivorous and carnivorous mammalian predators, such as rats, cats, ferrets, and hedgehogs.
Employing this technique against native marsupial predators offers multiple benefits:
- it will improve viability of wild Regent Honeyeater population through reduced nest predation;
- it will improve understanding of how and why Regent Honeyeaters (and other woodland birds) are vulnerable to arboreal marsupial predators; and
- it offers opportunities to test a novel non-lethal tool with global applications for protecting threatened prey from native predators, especially when predators may also be a threatened species.
Population survey and monitoring of Numbats in Boddington, Western Australia
There are only three main populations of wild numbats found in Western Australia with a total estimated population of around 1500 individuals. Even though the numbers of numbats have risen over recent years this is still a fairly small and potentially unsustainable population given the fragile nature of their habitat due to regularly occurring events such as bush fires. Project Numbat have been providing vital information on the current numbat populations in the Boyagin region for many years using camera trap data. Due to several recent sightings, they now have reason to believe there may be additional undocumented individuals or even populations of numbats in the neighbouring Boddington region.
This project would involve expanding camera trap surveys to include this area to gain a better understanding of the numbers of animals there and if they are residing in this region. If Numbats were found to be thriving in this area it would not only boost their numbers but provide essential new habitat, which is a high priority objective of the current Numbat Recovery Plan.
Protecting a cryptic population of jaguars in a reserve network in the Cerrado, Brazil
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
This project aims to conserve and connect a meta-population of jaguars within a reserve network in the Cerrado ecoregion, Brazil. Jaguars, South America’s largest predator and key component for biodiversity maintenance, has been exterminated from 54% of their global distribution and 65% of the former distribution in Brazil. The Cerrado is South America’s second largest biome and is considered a global biodiversity hotspot, but it is threatened because only 20% of the original vegetation remains because of transformations to agricultural lands. Jaguars have been exterminated throughout most of the Cerrado, however, using just a few cameras, they have recently detected a ‘hidden’ jaguar population in the region– a low-density breeding population, including females with cubs, that uses small, isolated reserves (including an urban park) and private lands over a vast area.
There is an urgent need to better document this cryptic population of jaguars, with the potential to connect jaguars throughout the entire southern portion of their distribution. This work will also help address the threats of fragmentation and climate change for the Cerrado because our results will be used by the government for better protection of parks, expansion of parks, and establish of corridors on private lands – which ultimately will help expand and better conserve threatened Cerrado habitat, positively impacting jaguars and other wildlife.
Applied Land Use Monitoring Technology for Community-Based Management of the YUS Conservation Area
Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ)
WPZ’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) works with customary landowners and communities among 50 remote villages to manage Papua New Guinea’s first-ever nationally protected Conservation Area (YUS Conservation Area) in Morobe Province to protect the endangered Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, Long-Beaked Echidna, and other species.
This project builds on a 2020/2021 Taronga-supported initiative to strengthen the protected area’s monitoring program through the application of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) Ranger Patrol system in YUS. Over the next two years, TKCP will expand, improve upon, and integrate methods and tools to effectively monitor land use and forest cover at the community, ward, and landscape levels to further strengthen the management and protection of the entire 162,683ha YUS Conservation Area. The project will provide technical assistance for the integration of Land Use and Natural Resource metrics, with training provided for the YUS Rangers and Land Use Mapping Officers. TKCP will also expand and incorporate its use of Drone and Landsat Imagery into the YUS monitoring program, supporting improved management using GIS and Remote Sensing analyses. Together, these efforts will enable the responsive, adaptive management of the YUS Conservation Area’s primary threats to habitat, biodiversity, and climate resilience: subsistence-based resource extraction and small-scale agricultural land conversion.
Using dogs to detect snares and reduce poaching in two parks in South Africa
Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
This project aims to investigate the use working dogs in the fight against poaching with wire snares. This form of poaching is an increasing problem in the Soutpansberg Protected Area (SPA) and in the southern parts of the Kruger National Park (KNP). Although field rangers conduct regular anti-poaching and de-snaring patrols in both the SPA and KNP, the bush is thick in many areas, making snares incredibly difficult to locate visually. Our project will test the effectiveness of a novel technique – using dogs trained to track people and locate snares using scent – to reduce the impact of snare poaching in these protected areas.
The EWT has a Conservation Canine Unit, which fulfils two important functions to support anti-poaching initiatives and to combat the smuggling of wildlife: detecting wildlife contraband and tracking poachers within protected areas. We will record and evaluate snare detection rates to demonstrate the effectiveness of the dogs as a rapid detection method to curb snare poaching activities. The EWT canine unit would deploy a tracking dog in both the SPA and KNP to monitor for illegal incursions. To summarise, the aim of our project is to detect poacher incursions, identify points of entry and exit, locate and remove snares, and follow routes taken by poachers to better inform deployment of anti-poaching patrols.
Sea Turtle Conservation in the Nesting Capital of Fiji’s Largest Seascape
Conservation International Fiji
Five of the worlds seven species of marine turtle are found in Fiji. Harvesting of marine turtle shell, meat, eggs for sale or consumption was banned in 1995, however culturally the harvest and use of turtles in traditional practices remains in effect, especially in rural maritime areas such as the Lau Seascape.
Conservation International is lead facilitator of the Lau Seascape Initiative which consists of a consortium of twelve partners working to execute the Lau Seascape Strategy 2018-2030. The Strategy supports the commitment of traditional resource owners to be wise stewards of their natural capital through conservation and sustainable development. It has unanimous support from the Chiefs of Lau, and represents an enormous undertaking in collaborative scientific, economic, and social research and planning.
As part of the Strategy, in November 2020, Duff Reef was successfully declared a turtle sanctuary. Within the sanctuary is a significant turtle nesting site, believed to be the primary nesting site of Green Sea Turtles in particular, in the Lau group. This project aims to address gaps in scientific knowledge through tagging and collecting baseline data, restoration actions around Duff Reef to protect nesting beaches and community education and engagement, nurturing critical relationships between traditional custodians and other stakeholders. Duff Reef is one place in one province – but it has captured national and international attention, and by making the sanctuary a conservation and social success, we will provide anchor point and model for replication and coordination within Lau and within Fiji.
Africa’s wildlife conservation leaders – enhancing capacity, one veterinarian at a time
Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF)
While most African countries don’t necessarily have a shortage of veterinarians, few have the specialised skills, confidence or experience in wildlife veterinary medicine. GCF is determined to make a long-term impact by providing young African vets the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in wildlife immobilisation through a ten-day intensive theoretical and practical field course hosted in Namibia by some of the industry’s leading experts.
All procedures of the course are part of ongoing conservation management efforts and activities included GPS satellite unit attachment/collaring, health checks and moving animals to different camps within the reserve. Through these hands-on procedures the participants gained a working knowledge of all components of wildlife veterinary medicine and experience with a variety of immobilization protocols and species. Furthermore, participants had an opportunity to develop their leadership, communication, critical thinking, and crisis management skills through lectures and theoretical discussions, as well as being placed in charge of actual immobilization procedures from start to finish.
The need for upskilling young nationals of their respective countries has been highlighted in almost every African conservation strategy and this includes wildlife veterinarians, who play an extremely important role in conservation.
Capacity Building on family planning for sustainable conservation of Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
Banda Community at Nyungwe National Park (RAISE HOPE)
Access to family planning has been shown a to reduce poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, and contribute to women’s empowerment and long-term environmental sustainability. In many resource-limited countries such Rwanda there is still a high and unmet need for access to family planning.
The Nyungwe forest has incredibly high wildlife diversity and endemism, making it a priority for conservation. A quarter of all of Africa’s primates, 13 species, can be found here, including the common chimpanzee and two Albertine Rift endemics, L’Hoest’s monkey and Hamlyn’s monkey. The Rwenzori colobus has been observed in a single group of 400 individuals, the largest ever recorded of any primate on the continent. The area faces challenges including unsustainable hunting and encroachment with 69% of the population around the forest living in extreme poverty with large family sizes reliant on Nyungwe forest for daily living. Reports show uncontrolled population growth with 34% of pregnancies around protected regions are unplanned.
The purpose of this project is to contribute to reduction and limitation of forest dependence resulting from overpopulation growth around Nyungwe National Park through integration of family planning services into environmental biodiversity conservation through community outreach, natural resource education and improved access to family planning services to assist the community and nature to thrive together.