The Amphibian Fund – In honor of Dr George B. Rabb –
Set up to help secure much-needed funding for amphibian species conservation around the world, this Fund supports conservation for the most threatened vertebrate group on earth.
At the first World Congress of Herpetology in 1989 the alarm bell was first sounded for unexplained and dramatic amphibian declines and extinctions taking place around the world. This could have resulted in a shocked scientific world with no follow-up action. However, the late Dr George B. Rabb, after whom the fund is named, had the vision and leadership to turn the alarm bell into a clarion call to mobilise action for amphibian research and conservation.
As a direct result, the amphibian conservation movement started to develop, focused on both understanding the science and the scale of the problem, and then working on conservation solutions.
In May 2017, the Chair of Synchronicity Earth, Adam Sweidan, wrote to George to tell him of his vision to establish an Amphibian Fund, requesting George’s agreement that it be named in his honour. On 16th June, as George’s health was already deteriorating, he responded to Adam saying:
“I … lend my name to this enterprise as you suggest. With deep appreciation of what you are undertaking to do for the conservation of a wonderful class of animals, I thank you again sincerely. George.”
The first aim for the Amphibian Fund is to provide core support to the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), and Amphibian Ark.
The ASA has successfully brought together a wide range of conservation organisations and groups around the world and is fast becoming the go-to network for amphibian conservation. The ASA works very closely with the ASG and Amphibian Ark: the ASG acts as the scientific advisor for amphibian conservation, and is responsible for maintaining the amphibian section of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and updating Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP); Amphibian Ark leads on promoting captive breeding of those amphibian species that require ex situ conservation, and on conducting national-level amphibian conservation needs assessments.
The 5-year strategic plan produced by the ASA during 2017 sets out the funding and operational plan for a range of activities needed to progress the global conservation effort. It is based on the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP), recently updated by the ASG to reflect changing amphibian conservation needs.
Providing annuity funding for the core costs of the ASA, ASG and Amphibian Ark will allow the leadership of these networks to focus on achieving their conservation goals.