April 2017

Efforts to protect natural World Heritage sites –the world’s most iconic wildlife sites - receive a boost today with the launch of a new website by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF).

The RRF provides support to tackle emergencies in natural World Heritage sites. These internationally recognised sites – which include the Serengeti plains of East Africa, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos islands - are the most important places on earth for the conservation of wildlife. They host some of the world’s most iconic species and habitats, including almost a third of all remaining wild tigers, and 40% of all African elephants.

A partnership between Fauna & Flora International and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre3, the RRF is a small grant fund that has already proved vital in tackling wildfires, earthquakes and oil spills in 29 precious sites. The fund has contributed to the conservation of over 140 threatened species such as tiger, African elephant, okapi and giant panda. The key element of the RRF is its speed, getting resources to the field fast when crises strike.

The new website will facilitate even more targeted and effective responses to conservation emergencies, by making the RRF more visible and easier to find online by those working in World Heritage sites. The new site is also mobile responsive, and has been designed for users in remote areas with limited connectivity.

Recent RRF grants have supported the purchase of vital optical equipment for park guards in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, to help counter a massive wave of elephant poaching, and efforts to fight devastating fires at Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve in Cambodia, which threatened the huge waterbird colonies there.

Victoria Price from the RRF Secretariat said: “The RRF has a vital role to play in protecting the world’s most important wildlife sites. We are delighted to be launching this new website, which will ensure we are even more effective in providing support in emergency situations, avoiding devastating and long-term damage to our precious natural heritage.”

RRF launches new website