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The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is an innovative philanthropy proving small grants to boots-on-the-ground, get-your-hands-dirty, in-the-field species conservation projects for the world’s most threatened species. Through innovative micro-financing, the MBZ Fund empowers conservationists to fight the extinction crisis instead of bureaucracy and red-tape. To date the Fund has awarded over 2,300 grants to a diverse range of species across the world.
Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor, has entered a three-year partnership with the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund) to support conservation initiatives around the world. Through the partnership, Mubadala Investment Company will provide the MBZ Fund with US $1.5 million annually to be directed towards supporting endangered flora and fauna in Africa and Asia; particularly in countries where Mubadala Investment Company has portfolio companies including Guinea and Indonesia, Thailand – representing some of the world's biodiversity hotspots.
Over the last 14 years the MBZ Fund has always been in a position to provide grants to support the conservation of threatened species that are usually overlooked – the less charismatic species. This has included grants for fungus conservation, and invertebrates of many different types, as well as the small mammals, frogs and reptiles that do not usually receive the conservation funding.
In order to expand this support for a broader group of species the MBZ Fund is in 2023 experimenting with funding for soil biota and threatened soil species. This would be for multicellular species and would not include bacteria and viruses.
This call for applications is within the existing funding and review model and timetable, and would provide around $12,000 for each of the three grants round in a year (for a total of $36,000 per year). The application for this funding was made available on 1st March, 2023, and will be available until the end of 2023. The criteria would essentially remain the same as for other taxonomic groups, with some flexibility in recognition of the different spatial scale and diversity of species to be addressed.
This admittedly limited funding would be to try to stimulate conservation attention for threatened soil species, and comes largely from a recognised need for this kind of support and lack of attention. (Veresoglou, S. D. et al. Extinction risk of soil biota. Nat. Commun. 6:8862 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9862 (2015).)
The application system and process is the same as usual, through the MBZ Fund’s online application form.
Pioneers in Central-eastern Anatolia: rapid range assessments of threatened and rare viper species in uncharted territories
A short documentary about small fish conservation in central Mexico featuring the work of conservationist Topiltzin Contreras