UK Government Increases Funding To Help Protect Endangered Species
Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s secretary for International Development has pledged new funding to help keep Sumatran tigers and West African chimpanzees protected. The number of wild tigers left roaming Indonesia is estimated to be between 400 to 500 and their declining number is down to habitat destruction. In Liberia chimpanzees are threatened as a result of the illegal trade in wildlife body as well as loss of habitat.
Fighting the underlying reasons
Ms Mordaunt made the £2.1 million pledge whilst she was visiting ZSL London Zoo and said the money will be used to help fight the underlying reasons behind the illegal wildlife trade as well as keep endangered species protected. Ms Mordaunt says it no one likes the idea that some wonderful species may disappear or the communities that make their home in nearby habitats are finding it difficult to make a living.
UK can play an important role in conservation
The UK is able to play a unique role in fighting the underlying causes such as grinding poverty and unmanaged habitat destruction and hopefully protect species such as the Sumatran tiger for future generations Ms Mordaunt concludes. The UK government will be giving money to Partnership for Forests which is a programme that has been constructed to help create sustainable jobs for local communities living in South-East Asia and parts of Africa.
Giving local communities options
The idea behind the programme is to provide local communities with alternative livelihood to clearing forests or hunting wildlife. Tanya Steele WWF chief executive says there is no need to make a choice between saving our wildlife or helping people. Projects such as Partnership for Forests show that UK aid can be used to save some of the most endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger as well as help some of the poorest people in the world.
Locals need to be part of the solution
Ms Steele adds that the only way to stop the illegal trade in wildlife is to ensure that local communities are included as part of the solution. The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting public-private partnership schemes in Liberia to help protect chimpanzee habitats, whilst in Indonesia tigers are being protected. The DFID says that as a direct result of its efforts, 16,000 jobs will be created, improving the lives of more than 50,000 people.
The UK government is also investing money in research that would lead to the development of far more sustainable rubber and cocoa industries. Dominic Jermey who heads up the Zoological Society London says the new focus on protecting endangered species is a welcome development. He says that his organisation works closely with local communities and helps them to better manage their natural resources as well as making sure that they also have a say in decision making to support their livelihoods.