The Caribbean islands form one of the most diverse biodiversity hotspots and have suffered a higher rate of species extinctions than any other region. Despite comprising only 0.15% of the Earth’s area, they account for at least 10% of the world’s recorded bird extinctions, 40% of mammal extinctions and more than 60% of reptile extinctions since 1500. This initiative supports the conservation of threatened species across the Eastern Caribbean, strategically focused on the use of offshore islands as natural arks where overexploitation and other threats can be tackled more successfully.
FFI is working with government agencies and civil society in multiple countries to restore damaged island ecosystems, protect critically endangered species, build conservation capacity, educate and engage young people, establish new protected areas, and integrate conservation with the rising use of offshore islands for local recreation and tourism. The network was initiated with support from the Disney Conservation Fund and has grown to conserve 24 offshore islands to date, directly benefiting more than a dozen globally threatened species, such as the Saint Lucia whiptail, West Indian whistling duck and hawksbill turtle.