Washington — Through its Wildlife Without Borders program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is partnering with 13 countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to help local people conserve their unique landscapes and the animals that live there. Service funding for $1.3 million in conservation projects will be matched by nearly $2 million in local support.
“Many of our wildlife species here in the United States need overwintering or breeding habitat in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly sea turtles and other migratory animals,” said Teiko Saito, USFWS assistant director for international affairs. “These projects will ensure that shared species continue to be protected once they leave our borders, and that other species of ecological and economic importance do not disappear forever.”
Of the $1.3 million awarded in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011, $758,000 will support nine community outreach and training projects through the Wildlife Without Borders-Latin America and the Caribbean program, aiming to build local support and capacity to conserve wildlife. The Wildlife Without Borders-Marine Turtle Conservation Fund will provide $336,000 for eight projects to conserve nesting beaches with important sea turtle populations. Two additional Wildlife Without Borders programs, the Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Fund and the Amphibians in Decline Fund, will fund seven projects, granting $212,000 for interventions to save endangered amphibians and other wildlife.
Service projects will span two continents, supporting the work of 19 conservation organizations. In Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Buffer Zone, the Wildlife Conservation Society will reduce human-jaguar conflict through outreach to local ranchers and owners of domestic animals. In Ecuador, Fundación Ontaga will house poison arrow frogs on the verge of extinction to prevent them from being exterminated by the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus. In Antigua and Barbuda, Fauna and Flora International will continue a successful project to restore and reintroduce the critically endangered Antiguan racer snake to the islands. And in Panama, the Sea Turtle Conservancy will work with local Ngobe Indian communities to restore the Chiriqui Beach nesting site, once the largest nesting beach for hawksbill sea turtles in the western Caribbean.
Funding for wildlife conservation projects through Wildlife Without Borders — Species, Regional, Global — is a $15.5 million suite of grants for wildlife conservation across the globe. For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program, including detailed summaries of the 2011 grant projects from Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions, visit the USFWS international affairs webpage.