The IUCN SSC Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP), and Amphibian Survival Alliance Partner, with support from Fondation Segré, has launched a Rapid Action Fund for tackling the extinction crisis in Southeast Asia. Small grants are now available for urgent conservation action that focuses on Critically Endangered land and freshwater vertebrate species found in Southeast Asia (ASAP species). These are the first grants to come from ASAP, marking a new stream of support for their Partners.
The grants of up to EUR 10,000 are targeting a region which has seen an unprecedented decline in wildlife over the last decades. Currently there are 227 ASAP species, many of which are endemic to Southeast Asia. This number continues to rise as more species are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Many ASAP species lack the conservation attention they desperately need, and without immediate action, many of these species will likely become extinct.
A high demand for wildlife, both for international and local trade, makes unsustainable offtake a major threat for many ASAP species. At the same time, Southeast Asia has achieved rapid economic growth but also significant levels of deforestation, especially for agricultural expansion, further contributing to biodiversity loss.
Nerissa Chao, Director of the Asian Species Action Partnership said,“We are delighted to be launching the ASAP Species Rapid Action Fund with support from Fondation Segré. As a Partnership, we understand the need to support our Partners in their efforts to conserve ASAP species and their habitats, and recognise that rapid interventions are often needed. This Fund will directly respond to urgent requests from the field, helping our Partners meet the ever changing conservation challenges they face”.
Despite the dire state for ASAP species, funding opportunities for many remains scarce. One of ASAP’s primary goals, as identified in ASAP’s five year strategy launched in 2019, is to leverage new financial resources to catalyse and support ASAP species conservation. The fund marks a significant first step towards delivering on this.
The ASAP Species Rapid Action Fund targets unexpected conservation emergencies, or activities that are critical to a project continuing. It will respond to emergency situations and urgent actions, for example, anti-poaching efforts, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, emergency rescue or crucial veterinary interventions, providing immediate funding for rapid implementation on the ground (maximum duration 12 months).
“A large part of the most urgent conservation needs are at local scale and often on very short time scales. The ASAP Species Rapid Action Fund is the most efficient and effective way to support local actors in counteracting the threats to the environment,” said Caterina Boitani from Fondation Segré.
Photo © Wildlife Reserves Singapore