Seed Money Available to Protect Mediterranean Basin Birds

mediterranean birds sunsetSeed money up to $1 million to protect your local birds. Apply today.

Sick of reading about Cyprus songbirds killed and pickled for snacks?  Weary of wild killing sprees like Egypt’s sanctioned bird hunt ? Or maybe the downed flamingos in Kuwait ruffled your feathers?

BirdLife International has created a fund to underwrite environmental preservation projects in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots: the Mediterranean Basin. Check out their new website to learn more about the group and their work.  Especially nice is a link where you can enter your country and see which species are at risk and find resources to get involved locally.  A search on Jordan, as example, leads to The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, BirdLife’s partner in Jordan, which in turn will advise on in-kingdom conservation.

This five-year conservation investment aims to preserve regional biodiversity by engaging with and developing existing civil society organizations, said Ibrahim Khader, Regional Director of BirdLife International’s Middle East Division.

“The Mediterranean Basin is the world’s second largest global biodiversity hotspot, covering more than two million square kilometers spanning 34 countries and territories. It stretches from Portugal to Jordan and from northern Italy to Cape Verde,” Khader told The Jordan Times. A biodiversity hotspot is any place that boasts a large number of diverse species under threat of human interference.

“The Mediterranean Basin is one of the biological wonders of the world and is the third richest biological hotspot in the world, with more than 13,000 endemic species found nowhere else on Earth,” he added. “The primary threat is habitat loss due to increasing pressure on water resources, agricultural intensification, land abandonment, and infrastructure and residential development.”

Twice a year, BirdLife International will invite proposals for small grants worth up to $20,000 and large grants of up to $1 million, according to the Regional Director.  The money will support conservation at a local level, especially vital given economies struggling in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Their website describes the organizations as “a partnership of 117 national conservation organization and the world leader in bird conservation.”

“NGOs, community groups, universities, private enterprises and individuals may apply for funding from all countries eligible for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) support,”  Khader added.

CEPF is a joint conservation initiative that seeks to engage civil society in biodiversity conservation. CEPF Program Leader at BirdLife International’s Middle East Division Mohammed Yousef said that the grants will work towards safeguarding globally threatened species and critical sites in Middle East and European nations surrounding the Mediterranean Basin.

Yousef said, “The investments will promote innovative partnerships… to enhance conservation and connectivity in five landscape corridors in the basin and conserve globally threatened species through systematic planning and action.”

Image of birds over Istanbul by Shutterstock

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