Back from the brink: financiers save critically endangered native tree

Recently Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Australia was invited to take part in ICAP’s annual Charity Day at its Sydney office. For one day each year ICAP, an interdealer brokerage company, donates all global commissions and revenues generated from its transactions to charities around the world.

In 2011 this totalled GBP 12.5 million! FFI Australia was extremely grateful for the funding we were allocated, which will go directly to the repopulation and conservation of the Proston Lasiopetalum in Queensland.

Australia is identified as a mega-diverse country and 80% of species found are endemic (only found in Australia). Unfortunately Australia also has high rates of loss of biodiversity. As a result many of its native species are facing extinction, so it is fantastic to be able to bring this particular one ‘back from the brink’!

ICAP's Charity Day puts the fun back into fundraising. Credit: FFI

ICAP’s Charity Day puts the fun back into fundraising. Credit: FFI

Proston Lasiopetalum has one of the most limited distribution and occupancy areas of all plants in Australia (<20ha). It is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act 1999 and Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992. The total population of the Proston Lasiopetalum was approximately 3600 plants in October 2002, however numbers have steadily decreased. Today it is believed that the majority of these plants are clonal (i.e. genetically identical individuals originating from a single ancestor) colonies, and are reproducing asexually.

The results of this project will help identify the most appropriate and genetically valid strategy required to protect the current population, increase the habitat area and establish or re-establish former populations. No state or federal recovery plan exists for the Proston Lasiopetalum.

ICAP Charity Day is a truly crazy event! Brokers dress up and the internal competition has become ever more fierce with increasingly elaborate outfits appearing each year, all shrouded in complete secrecy until the big reveal on the day. Each desk’s area of the office is also transformed. This year we saw an army camouflaged canopy over the M*A*S*H desk, bottles of rum and gold coins for the pirates and huge fake pot plants around the avatars – who themselves were coloured from top to toe in blue body paint, quite the commitment!

Pickles the bearded dragon answers the call to save critically endangered Australian plant species. Credit: FFI

Pickles the bearded dragon answers the call to save critically endangered Australian plant species. Credit: FFI

Not-for-profits are asked to bring ambassadors into each trading office who speak to the ICAP’s clients in order to assist with trades and maximise revenues generated. Past celebrities who have taken part include Prince William, Bon Jovi, Lara Bingle, Phil Kearns, Daniel Craig and Joanna Lumley. Kevin Spacey made a surprise visit to the Sydney office this year causing great excitement!

FFI Australia decided to bring a celebrity with a difference, and enlisted the help of Tony – ultimate bushman, reptile lover and all round great guy. Tony brought in a large array of Australian animals who were quite at home touring the office, albeit unable to speak to traders. Joanna the Australian goanna in particular was a huge hit, as well as the Prickles the bearded dragon and Snappy the baby crocodile.

FFI Australia was thrilled to be part of such a fantastic initiative and huge thanks go to ICAP for including us.