RRF in action in 2020

2020 was an extremely challenging year globally, and (like everyone) we sincerely hope the world fares better in 2021. Even in the best of times, unexpected crises and disasters can occur.

The RRF provides small grants in emergency situations affecting biodiversity within natural World Heritage sites. With a target to decide on applications in just 8 working days, we provide rapid support at times of crisis.

In 2020, RRF provided $181,677 to 5 sites, covering almost 1.4 million hectares. As a reminder of the type of support we can provide in an emergency, let's look back at our actions over the last year:

Yaboti Biosphere Reserve (Argentina) - In February 2020, RRF supported the Proyecto Zorro Pitoco initiative with immediate logistical needs to tackle a dramatic increase in wildlife poaching.  As a result, there is renewed commitment from the authorities to prioritise site protection.

Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) - In April 2020, a deadly armed attack left 17 people dead (12 rangers, four civilians and one driver) and three badly injured. In June, a second attack resulted in more tragic losses. RRF provided emergency support to the Virunga Foundation to increase the protection of rangers in vulnerable sites and provide medical relief to staff. Four ranger posts have been reinforced with gabion walls to increase staff security, and many of those injured are now recovering.

Sundarbans National Park (India) - In May 2020, a devastating cyclone destroyed tiger fencing that prevents negative human-tiger conflict. RRF supported WWF India to work with the West Bengal Forest Directorate to restore around 50km of netting. Since the restoration, there have been no incidents of straying tigers.

Pantanal Conservation Area (Brazil) - In August 2020, RRF provided a grant to Instituto Homem Pantaneiro, to help coordinate a response to fire in the Brazilian wetlands. The grantee worked with the authorities to acquire specialist equipment and to strengthen firefighting efforts on- the-ground, protecting important biodiversity.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda) – The park is home to almost half of the remaining endangered Mountain Gorillas. COVID-19 poses a threat to gorillas, given their close evolutionary relationship to humans. RRF therefore provided vital funding to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to safeguard the mountain gorilla during the pandemic. Happily, there was no loss to poaching nor disease during the grant period. The park also witnessed a baby boom last year, with 10 new gorilla births.

Since 2006, RRF has provided more than USD 1.4 million to support government agencies, NGOs and other groups, all working tirelessly to conserve natural World Heritage. Looking ahead, we are committed to continue protecting the world’s top priority sites for biodiversity. Please see our application page for further details on eligibility and how to apply.

RRF thanks Fondation Franz Weber, Arcadia, Fondation Iris and the Government of Norway for their support.

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RRF in action: 2020