Year in Review
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September/October 2017

New species discovered

Two CEPF-funded projects announced high-profile species discoveries.

  • Fauna & Flora International (FFI) discovered 15 gecko species new to science in Myanmar. Three of the species were described in the Journal of Natural History and 12 in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. FFI has worked with Myanmar’s Mining and Environment departments to develop environmental best-practice guidelines for limestone quarries to reduce the negative impact on biodiversity.
  • Hikuna Judge, a ranger at the Zaira Resource Management Area on Vangunu Island, Solomon Islands, and ecologist Tyrone Lavery of University of Queensland reported the discovery of the Vangunu giant rat (Uromys vika). It’s the first new rat species discovered on the islands in about 80 years. It can weigh more than 0.9 kilograms (2 pounds) and stretch to about 0.45 m from nose to tip of tail. Because its habitat is threatened by industrial logging, the rat is likely to be designated as Critically Endangered once it is assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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October 2017

New investment in Mediterranean Basin begins

CEPF’s second investment in conserving the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot began, with BirdLife International serving as the regional implementation team (RIT). The new investment of US$10 million is building on progress made in the first CEPF investment of US$10.7 million from 2012-2017. For results of the first investment, see pages 27 and 28. Eligible countries for the new investment include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco and Tunisia.

Despite the efforts of the CEPF Secretariat, the government of Turkey did not provide the endorsement that is required for CEPF to make grants available to the civil society of a given country. This was a great disappointment for CEPF and the RIT as well as for the conservation community of Turkey.

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December 2017

Dalmatian pelican status improves

The status of the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was downlisted from Vulnerable to Near Threatened, marking a global improvement of its conservation status.

A four-fold increase in southeast Europe’s Dalmatian pelican population since the 1990s brought about the change in status. This progress can be attributed to implementation of a Species Action Plan and the protection provided by the European Union’s Birds and Habitats Directives, which helped conserve key breeding sites in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. Actions taken by CEPF grantees at an important breeding site, Skadar Lake on the Montenegro and Albania border, are also part of the equation. The organizations Noé, National Parks Montenegro, the Natural History Museum of Montenegro, the Centre for Protection and Research of Birds in Montenegro (CZIP), EuroNatur, Tour du Valat, and Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania (INCA) collaborated to increase Skadar’s Dalmatian pelican population. Where previously breeding pairs had been counted at fewer than a dozen, 48 nesting pairs produced 58 chicks in 2017.

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December 2017

Kenya protects Lake OL' BOLOSSAT

Following a campaign by CEPF grantee East African Wildlife Society, the Kenyan government declared Lake Ol' Bolossat a 4,000-hectare protected area. The small lake in central Kenya features open water, marshes, grassland and forests. It is home to hippopotamuses and a way station for migrating birds. The lake also provides food and water for people, livestock and wildlife downstream. But human activity has decreased the water body and action was needed to ensure its future.

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December 2017

New CEPF website

CEPF launched its new website, www.cepf.net, featuring a responsive design that accommodates viewing on a variety of devices. New and improved content includes a “Learning” section, a searchable project database, updated biodiversity hotspots content, a simplified “Grants” section, and a new “Stories” page featuring articles on biodiversity, grantee stories, grantee results, lessons learned, tips and tools, and news.

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June 2018

Caribbean ecosystem profile drafted

CEPF engaged a team led by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) to draft a new ecosystem profile—a blueprint for conservation—for the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot. The participatory assessment of the hotspot that CANARI conducted looked at progress made during and since CEPF’s 2010-2015 investment of US$6.9 million in conserving the biodiversity of this hotspot, and it identified the most urgent conservation needs. More than 175 stakeholders from 94 organizations participated in the profile development, including civil society, government, the private sector and the donor community active in the hotspot. Once finalized, the profile will provide the foundation for future conservation investment in the hotspot.

April 2018

Presence of world’s rarest turtle confirmed by eDNA

The world’s most endangered turtle species, Swinhoe’s softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), received a boost when the Asian Turtle Program, with support from a CEPF grant, used the collection of environmental DNA, or eDNA, to identify a new individual at a lake on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Now believed to be almost extinct in the wild, Swinhoe’s softshell turtle’s total population previously numbered only three individuals as of 2016. This finding offers new hope, with the possibility of bringing wild individuals together in a controlled environment for captive breeding.

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June 2018

Nine Indonesian agencies sign cooperation agreements

Burung Indonesia, the organization serving as CEPF’s regional implementation team for the Wallacea Biodiversity Hotspot, signed cooperation agreements with nine agencies of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The achievement is an important milestone that helps bring Wallacea’s biodiversity into the national spotlight and signifies the government’s recognition that civil society organizations play an important role in protecting that biodiversity.

June 2018

Ecuador municipality establishes conservation area system

With help from CEPF grantee Flora & Fauna International, the municipality of San Lorenzo in Ecuador approved an ordinance establishing a system of conservation and sustainable-use areas that resulted in protection of 54,539 hectares of land important for water resources and biodiversity in the Awacachi Corridor Key Biodiversity Area.


Photo Credits

Vangunu giant rat (Uromys vika). Illustration by Velizar Simeonovski/The Field Museum
A community researcher with CEPF grantee Global Diversity Foundation interviews a local elder in Morocco. © Inanc Tekguc, for Global Diversity Foundation
Dalmatian pelicans (Pelecanus crispus), Skadar Lake, Montenegro. © Andrej Vizi
Lake Ol’ Bolossat, Kenya. © Fabian Haas
Staff from CEPF grantee FoProBim help residents of Caracol, Haiti, plant breadfruit tree seedlings. © Goldman Environmental Prize
Flores Island, Indonesia. © Conservation International/photo by Aulia Erlangga