100% goes directly towards our project on Union Island
Help build new warden base and save critically endangered species
We urgently need your help to raise funds for the land purchase and construction of new accommodation for the wardens on Union Island. The situation on the ground is reaching a critical point for the Union Island geckos and the future of this crucial project, so these new facilities would greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of this species saving work.
We need $25,000 – roughly £20,000 – to complete the build, and, without it, the funding for the whole construction project will almost certainly fall through. There is no time to spare. And – on top of the urgency – if we can act now this $25,000 will unlock a further $95,000 of donor funding for the project. That means a donation of £30 would be worth a staggering £144.
The tiny Caribbean island of Union Island is the only home of the critically endangered Union Island gecko, as well as a host of other endangered species. However, Union Island is too far from the mainland for visiting wildlife authorities, so currently the only option for travelling protection teams is for them to stay in paid accommodation. This is incredibly inefficient and expensive, and drastically reduces the effectiveness of the local conservation teams who need support from authorities to enforce wildlife protection laws.
This new building will allow teams to stay on-site, allowing crucial resources to be focussed on patrols. But we must act now – before the end of July – as we have a crucial, one-off opportunity to buy the land we need for the build. If we don’t raise the funds quickly then that opportunity will most likely be lost. That’s why we’re asking for your donations today – an amount of $25,000 needs to be raised as soon as possible to help us secure the land and complete the construction.
Every single penny of your donation will go towards this project. So please, donate today and help us begin this landmark project, supporting the hardworking wardens and – ultimately – helping to save the iconic species of Union Island.
Union Island – part of the Grenadine islands in the Caribbean – is a vibrant natural paradise. This remote island is an ecologist’s dream, home to four major natural ecosystems: lowland dry forests, mangrove, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. But these ecosystems are in trouble – two are endangered, one is near threatened, and the other – the seagrass meadows – have not yet been assessed, so we have no idea how threatened it could really be.
Union Island – the only home to the rare Union Island gecko. Credit: Jacob Bock/FFI
As well as vulnerable ecosystems, the island is home to some of the world’s rarest species, including the Grenadine pink rhino iguana, as-yet-unclassified arachnids, and the miniature Union Island gecko.
This tiny gecko – small enough to fit on your thumbnail – was only discovered in 2005, and has quickly become a flagship species for Union Island. These secretive tiny reptiles are beautifully vivid; even at a distance away their bright, beautiful eyes and markings stand out.
But this beauty is their downfall; gecko collectors all around the world are willing to pay a fortune for them, and this has led to a wave of poaching that their wild population isn’t able to cope with. Today, the only place they are found in the wild is one tiny area of Union Island, making the island absolutely critical to their survival.
Since January 2016, FFI has worked with the local community NGO The Union Island Environmental Alliance (UIEA), and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadine (SVG) Forestry Department to support the recovery of the Union Island gecko. We have over 25 years’ experience in Caribbean ecosystem restoration and endangered species recovery, and have already managed to successfully curb two serious threat to forest biodiversity – illegal international trade and destructive rock mining. We have also helped to provide the Union Island gecko with legal protection, making it illegal for anyone to trade them overseas.
But the hard work doesn’t stop there – there are still those who seek out the Union Island gecko for all the wrong reasons, and the gecko is still perilously close to the edge of extinction.
This is where the island wardens come in – diligent members of the local community who help to patrol at-risk areas, looking out for illegal activity, and also acting as a deterrent for any would-be poachers.
The wardens helping to protect the precious Union Island gecko. Credit: UIEA
As well as helping the endangered island species, our work with the wardens takes steps to address potential barriers to work in the local community, particularly the participation of women and other marginalised groups.
These enthusiastic individuals do an incredible job of preserving the precious island habitats and the species who live there – now we have a chance to make their work even easier and give them the on-site accommodation they so desperately need.
The plan is to build an all-purpose office and accommodation building, house the UIEA and their team of community wardens and visiting SVG Forestry Department officials when they visit the island.
The plan for new accommodation and office facilities on Union Island.
To make the new building as sustainable as possible, we will be incorporating solar power for the office, electric vehicles and piloting the island’s first waterless composting toilets, setting a precedent for others. The building will also benefit from traditional construction knowledge to make efficient use of shade and sea breezes.
Union Island is the furthest island from the mainland, and without onsite accommodation, it is incredibly difficult for partnering organisations to visit the island without paying for expensive private accommodation. The accommodation will enable their staff to continue frequent visits at minimal cost to help enforce wildlife protection laws, as well as providing technical and educational support. The new building will also make life much easier for hardworking local staff, giving them a functional new office to work from.
We don’t have long to secure the land purchase so we must raise the funds – $25,000 – as a matter of urgency. This is a huge opportunity that will make an incredible difference to the wardens on Union Island, as well as the many spectacular species that live there and so desperately need our help.
If we can raise the full $25,000, we will be able to unlock a further $95,000 of donor funding, which will make an exceptional difference to the project. This means that your donation will be multiplied by 4.8. For example, a donation of £10 would be worth an extraordinary £48. Every single penny of your donation will go towards this project.
For the Union Island gecko, this project really is their last chance of survival. This tiny gem of a species has no other options.
The phenomenal community wardens are doing a fantastic job of working to safeguard this species, and more, but this is our chance to make their job monumentally easier, and ensure the longevity of our crucial Union Island gecko project. So please, donate today and help us to build this much-needed accommodation, ultimately helping to safeguard the precious endangered species of Union Island.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world’s oldest conservation charity. Over the last 100 years, we have literally saved species from extinction and even – with the help of our vice-president, Sir David Attenborough – helped bring mountain gorillas back from the brink. We work to protect plants and animals around the globe, and spend 94% of our income on charitable activities.
That’s why we’re sure that – with your help – we still have time to save even more species.
If you value the natural world – if you think it should be protected for its own sake as well as humanity’s – then please support Fauna & Flora International.
Find our more about how we spend your donations.
Contact us on:
+44 1223 749019
Even if the target amount of $25,000 isn’t raised, the funds raised will still be allocated to the construction project on Union Island. Any excess income will be used to support our other work on Union Island and around the world.