FFI launches crisis fund with $1m from Arcadia
Fauna & Flora International in Cambridge has launched the first crisis fund in response to the coronavirus pandemic – a $1 million venture to protect global conservation efforts.
It will distribute money to a range of conservation groups with whom FFI currently partners, including in Vietnam, Honduras, Belize, Kenya and Mozambique.
FFI is already seeking additional funding to provide longer-term support to its partners and will shortly be launching an appeal aiming to raise a further $1 million as part of the next phase of the initiative.
Sir David Attenborough, a vice-president of Fauna & Flora International, has called for a “new relationship that respects rather than exploits the wonders of nature,” after warnings from scientists that habitat destruction, agricultural intensification and wildlife trade sowed the seeds of the pandemic.
He said: “As the world responds to this pandemic, we must be led by the science, and the science is telling us that the destruction of nature and encroachment of humans and industry into natural habitats is making the emergence of new and dangerous viruses ever-more likely.
“The finger of blame cannot be pointed at the natural world for this crisis, but in our relationship with it, and we must urgently act to create a new relationship that respects rather than exploits the wonders of nature.”
There is a substantial body of evidence linking the expansion of human activity into natural areas, agricultural intensification, and exploitation of wild species to increasing rates of spill-over of infectious diseases from wild animals to humans. There is also evidence that illegal poaching, overfishing and deforestation are on the rise.
FFI chief executive Mark Rose said: “When the pandemic hit we knew there was a real danger that it could create a conservation crisis and that we needed to respond.
“This fund is the first of its kind in response to the pandemic and will help ensure that this crisis doesn’t undermine the decades of hard work that have gone into safeguarding endangered wildlife and habitats around the world.
“FFI works in more than 40 countries and has a track record of operating under challenging circumstances stretching back well over a century.
“We’ll be bringing all of this knowledge to bear in supporting our partners in their work to protect the natural world – work that is now more important than ever.”
• PHOTOGRAPH: The fund will provide relief support to fishing communities across Southeast Asia. Credit: A’al Syafrizaldi/FFI