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U.S. Partners with Asian, Near Eastern Countries to Save Wildlife

26 April 2012
Close-up of snarling leopard (AP Images)

A caged Javan leopard, accidentally trapped by Indonesian villagers in 2009 and then rescued by environmental activists, growls before being returned to the wild.

Washington — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is partnering through its Wildlife Without Borders program with 15 countries in South and Southeast Asia and the Near East to conserve tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutans, gibbons, marine turtles, amphibians and other endangered animals.

U.S. funding of $4.6 million in 2011 has leveraged $6.1 million in matching funds for these conservation projects.

“Wildlife populations in South and Southeast Asia and the Near East are suffering from habitat destruction, poaching and conflict between wildlife and people. This area — habitat for the 40 surviving Javan rhinos and critical populations of tigers and orangutans — is crucial to the success of our conservation efforts,” said Teiko Saito, USFWS assistant director for international affairs.

Fifty-three USFWS grantees are working throughout South and Southeast Asia and the Near East, including Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

• In Cambodia, the Wildlife Alliance is expanding its successful Kouprey Express environmental education project, emphasizing elephant conservation to disadvantaged students in protected areas around the Cardamom Mountains.

• In Thailand, the World Wildlife Fund is conducting outreach and improving sanctuary management for a globally significant population of pileated gibbons.

• In Indonesia, the State University of Papua is engaging local communities in a recovery program for the largest remaining Western Pacific leatherback sea turtle nesting population.

• In Malaysia, the Wildlife Conservation Society is improving law enforcement efforts for tigers in the Endau-Rompin landscape to protect habitat corridors. 

Of the $4.6 million awarded to these 15 countries in 2011, $1.53 million supports 29 projects through the Wildlife Without Borders Asian Elephant Conservation Fund; $1.53 million supports 26 tiger and four rhinoceros projects through the Wildlife Without Borders Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund; and an additional $1 million supports 20 orangutan and gibbon conservation projects funded by the Wildlife Without Borders Great Ape Conservation Fund.

The Wildlife Without Borders Marine Turtle Conservation Fund, Critically Endangered Animals Program and Amphibians in Decline Program also provided $220,000, $260,000 and $50,000, respectively, to 20 projects to conserve animals such as the Siamese crocodile, the Indian bustard, the Bali starling, the flare-horned markhor, the white-backed vulture, the snow leopard and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, as well as the olive ridley, leatherback and hawksbill sea turtle.

Funding for wildlife conservation projects through three Wildlife Without Borders subprograms — Species, Regional, Global — provides a $15.5 million suite of grants across the globe.

For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program, including detailed summaries of 2011 grant projects from South and Southeast Asia, the Near East and other regions, visit the USFWS international website.