Conservation Leadership Programme announces 2013 award winners

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) has announced that it will be awarding a total of US$470,000 in funding to support 28 conservation projects this year.

The awards are designed to develop future conservation leaders while supporting projects that bring about real conservation benefits for threatened species and ecosystems around the world.

Reptiles and amphibians feature heavily on this year’s list, with projects to address the conservation of such delightfully-named species as the marsupial frogs of Argentina and the giant West African squeaker frog in Ghana.

West African squeaker frog, Ghana.

West African squeaker frog, Ghana.

Other species benefiting from this round of funding include the Critically Endangered brown-headed spider monkey and the Endangered Samoan tooth-billed pigeon (which is also known as the ‘little dodo’ due to its resemblance to this ill-fated mascot of extinction).

The awards will also support shark conservation work in Argentina – a topical issue given recent decisions at the March 2013 CITES conference to increase protection for five highly-traded shark and ray species.

A growing network of CLP alumni

Of the 28 winning projects, 24 have been granted Future Conservationist Awards (up to US$15,000) to give teams of early-career conservationists a unique opportunity to further scientific knowledge about threatened species, tackle real-world conservation issues, and develop project management and leadership skills that will serve them well in their budding careers.

Gopal Khanal, who is leading a project to assess the ecology and conservation of the Ganges river dolphin in Nepal, explained what this award means to his team: “We are all very grateful to CLP staff and the selection committee for giving us such a great opportunity to build knowledge, enhance capacity and do something more for nature and biodiversity.

“We feel such a great responsibility to save this Endangered freshwater river dolphin…we will do our best to develop our knowledge and conserve this species.”

Projects in Ghana, Guyana and Zimbabwe each received follow-up funding of US$25,000 to continue work initiated through CLP support, while the highly-competitive Conservation Leadership Award of US$50,000 has been granted to a team in Turkey to improve community-led conservation around Lake Kuyucuk, an important site for bird conservation and tourism.

To date the CLP has supported over 580 projects, and this year’s winners will join the CLP’s growing network of alumni, giving them access to individual grants, training, and mentoring opportunities funded by the CLP.