This week The National published a feature story about the history, mission and impact of the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund).
The article highlighted the successes and importance of microfinancing species conservation projects in the field. A return to the successful practices of the golden age of conservation in the 1960s and 1970s, the MBZ Fund recognizes that when we protect one species, we indirectly protect the many others that make up the ecological community. With an estimated 10,000 species lost to extinction each year, at a rate one thousand times faster than any other period in history, Ms. Al Mubarak says the Fund’s work is more critical now than ever before.
Ms. Al Mubarak explained, “without conservationists in the field, we lose our first line of defence against habitat destruction, deforestation, overhunting, poaching and pollution. When we support a conservationist, chances are good that the conservationist will receive funding from other sources as well. Support from the MBZ Fund is often the spark that lights the fire of conservation.”
Launched in 2009 with an initial endowment of $25 million, grants of up to $25,000 are awarded and have now gone to support more than 1,400 species and subspecies. Over 2,150 projects have been awarded in over 160 countries. These have focused on the preservation of animals, plants and fungi. Awards have led to species rediscovery, reintroduction and protection from extinction.