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Annual Report 2018

Global Support for Species Conservation

For the first time, this 2018 Annual Report will review the Fund's full range of activities, which includes the support we provide to international partner organisations concerned with broader species-specific conservation projects.


A decade after the founding of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, we are pleased to report that 2,000 individual projects in more than 160 countries have benefitted from our support of their efforts to conserve more than 1,300 separate species and subspecies around the globe.

Founded by His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Fund seeks to support species conservation in all its forms. In this regard it is dynamic, in that it can tailor the delivery of support to best fit the specific requirements of recipients; for example, by acting as the executing agency for the GEF-funded Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project (DSCP); providing funding for big cat conservation through the US-based conservation organization Panthera; and disbursing small, targeted grants to conservationists in the field.

The Fund is perhaps best known for this latter aspect of its work – its capacity to quickly approve and disburse small grants to individual researchers and conservationists to support or maintain their efforts in the field. The small grants programme is structured around an initial endowment of US $27.5 million, the proceeds of which are disbursed to support species conservation projects worldwide. With over US $1.5 million in funding distributed in 2018 to 188 different projects, this programme continues to achieve significant impacts on the conservation of an expanding range of plants, animals and ecosystems.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak
Managing Director

About Us

Since 2008, the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund has sought to empower species conservation efforts and programmes across the globe, embodying the deep-rooted commitment of both the government and the people of Abu Dhabi to the preservation of our natural heritage.

Why species conservation?

Species-level conservation today does not enjoy the same prominence in the environmental/conservation sphere as it once did. Many of the original global conservation organisations were established with a strong species focus, but over time much of the emphasis and funding has moved to other environmental priorities and grown in scope to include other disciplines.

Whereas the primary activities of species conservationists (many of whom were originally hunters, animal lovers or simply enthusiastic amateur naturalists) involved weeks and months in the field, a significant portion of conservation today takes the form of lab work, or conservation planning and analysis conducted in offices. Whilst these are all pursuits that are vital to the goals of global conservation, the decline of field-based species conservation as a discipline within the evolving environmental movement is an alarming trend that must be resisted.

Activities and ethos

In view of this crisis facing species conservation, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, established this dedicated fund for the provision of support to conservation initiatives worldwide.

To preserve the creatures and habitats we treasure­ – and indeed depend on – within their natural habitat, the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund seeks to support on-the-ground champions of species conservation through its small grants programme; the individuals in villages, field stations, laboratories and homes who are dedicated to conserving their local (and the world’s global) threatened species.

The Fund assists their work through focused financial support from the proceeds of its endowment, nurturing the next generation of conservationists by making the best practices available to them using innovative communication methods.

In addition, the Fund simultaneously directs the allocation of financial assistance from other sources in Abu Dhabi to support various conservation initiatives and programmes worldwide – such as the wild cat conservation organisation, Panthera – and acts as the executing agency for the GEF-funded Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project.

Through its events and additional activities, the Fund also seeks to recognise individual leaders in the field of species conservation whose passion and commitment often go unnoticed, and in doing so, to inspire others with an interest in the field.

The MBZ Fund also supports several conservation initiatives beyond its small grants programme — including a GEF-funded project for the conservation of dugong and seagrass, support for big cat conservation through Panthera and many more.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak,
Managing Director

A dynamic approach to global species conservation

The Fund has sought to make its small grants programme available to all conservation efforts without discrimination by location, taxa or species, other than through guidance from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and in response to applications received.

Of the species on the Red List, the Fund focuses most of its financial attention on those that are Critically Endangered (CR) or Endangered (EN), or about which little is known (Data deficient [DD]). The Red List features around 1,000 species that are believed to be extant but in populations of less than 100 individuals, and the Fund would advocate that every one of these is worthy of conservation attention and funding.

In the eyes of the Fund, therefore, the lichen is considered just as important as the lion, and it allocates support purely on its assessment of the impact that a suggested project will have on the conservation of a given species – whatever its role in an ecosystem or relationship to humans.

The number and breadth of species that the Fund supports, and the variety of roles it fulfils to achieve its objectives, illustrate the fact that whilst it is highly specific in terms of its aims – to support both individual and collective species conservation activities – it is also extremely dynamic in its methods.

This represents the true strength of the Fund as a global conservation actor and reflects a long-standing tradition of philanthropy and conservation in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where major programmes have been successful in protecting species as diverse as the Arabian oryx, gazelle, Houbara Bustard, dugong and marine turtles.

It is this tradition that lies at the heart of the work of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, which strives to embody and apply the Emirate’s inherent appreciation for the natural world and its biodiversity through its unique and genuinely international approach to philanthropy and species conservation.

Small Grants

While the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund supports a diverse range of species through direct funding and engagement with multi-partner conservation projects around the world, the species coverage and number of conservationists supported each year by its small grants programme is unparalleled.

Small Grants

Case Studies

While the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund supports a diverse range of species through direct funding and engagement with multi-partner conservation projects around the world, the species coverage and number of conservationists supported each year by its small grants programme is unparalleled.

Thousands of these small-scale species conservation projects have reached all corners of the globe, from Antarctica to Belarus, Alabama to Australia, offering targeted support to enthusiastic conservationists and researchers in the field.

These intrepid individuals are the first line of defence against species extinction – passionate people who have dedicated their lives to the conservation of the creatures and plants they love and we depend on to retain our planet’s unique biodiversity.

Small Grants

Small grants supported 2018

Click any column header to reorder. Use the search to filter for anything. For example, enter "frog" to see all grants for frogs or "India" to see all grants in that country. You can also filter by Species Type and IUCN Category using the tools in the bottom left. Hover over a row to read a brief grant summary. If the Vernacular Name is in green text, the grant Principal Investigator (PI) has published their own case study on our main website.

IUCN Red List classifications

EWExtinct in the Wild
CRCritically Endangered
NTNear Threatened
LCLeast Concern
DDData Deficient
NENot Evaluated

Species Types

TypeIUCNVernacular NameScientific NameNameName of OrganizationCountry, ContinentFunding
Fungi VU Morris' Amanita Amanita morrisi Sanjay Molur Zoo Outreach Organization India, Asia $5,000
Fungi CR Sandy Stiltball Battarrea phalloides Marica Lewis Malta Mycological Association Malta, Europe $5,000
Plant CR Psychotria bimbiensis Psychotria bimbiensis Hermann Taedoumg Plant Systematics and Ecology Laboratory (LaBosystE) Cameroon, Africa $13,000
Invertebrate EN Girigiri Corals Igo Gari Bnd University Papua New Guinea, Oceania $12,700
Invertebrate CR Gran Canaria Bush-Cricket Evergoderes cabrerai Axel Hochkirch IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group Spain, Europe $12,100
Invertebrate NE diplommatinid land snail Arinia spp. Menno Schilthuizen Taxon Expeditions Malaysia, Asia $5,000
Invertebrate NE bumble bees Bombus spp. Kinley Tenzin Ministry of Agriculture Bhutan, Asia $5,700
Fish EN Madagascar Blind fish Typhleotris mararybe Sama Zefania N/A Madagascar, Africa $5,200
Amphibian EN Long toed tree frog Leptopelis xenodactylus Louis Du Preez North-West University South Africa, Africa $4,500
Plant CR Talbotiella gentii Talbotiella gentii Prince Adu-Tutu EcoWild Conservation Ghana, Africa $5,135
Fish CR Sakhalin taimen Hucho perryi Matthew Sloat Wild Salmon Center Russia, Asia $8,000
Fish CR Ningu Labeo victorianus Aventino Kasangaki Busitema University, Faculty of Science and Education Uganda, Africa $12,000
Fish DD Pacific Sleeper Shark Somniosus pacificus Garrett Dunne Northeastern University United States, North America $7,500
Amphibian CR Bale Short-headed Frog Balebreviceps hillmani Aemro Mekonnen Addis Ababa University Ethiopia, Africa $4,990
Reptile CR Barbados leaf-toed gecko Phyllodactylus pulcher Dennis Blades University of the West Indies Barbados, North America $5,000
Bird CR Fatu Hiva Monarch Pomarea whitneyi Thomas GHESTEMME Société d'Ornithologie de Polynésie Manu (SOP Manu) French Polynesia, Oceania $24,078
Reptile EN Mary River turtle Elusor macrurus Marilyn Connell Tiaro & District Landcare Group Inc Australia, Oceania $7,000
Reptile CR Central American River Turtle Dermatemys mawii Nicole Auil Gomez Wildlife Conservation Society Belize, North America $10,000
Reptile EN Manouria emys Manouria emys Arbi Wiguna Wildlife Observer Community Indonesia, Asia $4,000
Bird EN Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata Holly Robertson American Bird Conservancy United States, North America $25,000
Mammal CR Chinese pangolin Manis pentadacyla Prativa Kaspal Women for conservation Nepal, Asia $3,000
Mammal CR Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla Tshering Nidup Department of Forests and Park Services, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary. Bhutan, Asia $4,500
Mammal VU Guigna Leopardus guigna Constanza Napolitano Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, Faculty of Sciences, University of Chile Chile, South America $24,950
Mammal VU Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Daniel Willcox Save Vietnam's Wildlife Vietnam, Asia $5,000
Mammal VU Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Ai SUZUKI Tokyo Metropolitan University Myanmar (Burma), Asia $7,500
Mammal EN Bay Cat Catopuma badia Roshan Guharajan Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Malaysia, Asia $7,500
Mammal EN Chamba Sacred Langur Semnopithecus ajax Vidya Mary George Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society (WILD) India, Asia $5,000
Mammal CR Equatorial White-fronted Capuchin Monkey Cebus aequatorialis Fanny Cornejo Yunkawasi Peru, South America $12,000
Mammal EN Temminck's Red Colobus Piliocolobus temminckii Tânia Minhós CRIA - Centre for Reserach in Anthropology Sierra Leone, Africa $12,000
Mammal EN Drill Mandrillus leucophaeus Inaoyom Imong Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria, Africa $12,500
Mammal EX Desert rat-kangaroo Caloprymnus campestris Karl Vernes University of New England Australia, Oceania $8,000
Mammal EN Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat Hypogeomys antimena Anselme Toto Volahy Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Madagascar, Africa $12,500
Mammal VU Elephant Loxodonta africana Luc Mathot Conservation Justice Burkina Faso, Africa $14,000
Fungi NE Yellow afrobolete Afroboletus luteolus Hyppolite AIGNON Laboratory of Ecology, Botany and plant Biology Benin, Africa $6,000
Plant NE Bryophytes Bryophytina Jacques van Rooy South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Spain, Europe $10,000
Plant NE Lemmers Tulip Tulipa lemmersii Svetlana Baskakova Wild Nature NGO, Kazakhstan Kazakhstan, Asia $5,000
Plant EN Anisoptera costata Anisoptera costata Vu Dinh Duy Vietnam National Museum of Nature (VNMN), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) Vietnam, Asia $5,000
Invertebrate NE conifer bark beetle Boros schneideri Viktor Shparyk Department of Natural Sciences, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University Ukraine, Europe $3,000
Invertebrate CR Floreana Coral Tubastraea Floreana Jonas Letschert Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) Ecuador, South America $4,000
Invertebrate EN Madeiran Speckled Wood Pararge xiphia Elliot Bland Manchester Metropolitan University Portugal, Europe $1,000
Fish CR Periyar Latia Crossocheilus periyarensis Rajeev Raghavan Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies India, Asia $4,970
Fish EN Butterfish Irvineia voltae Phyllis Akua Amamoo University of Ghana- Legon Ghana, Africa $9,440
Fish CR Tequila Splitfin Zoogoneticus tequila Omar Domínguez-Domínguez Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo Mexico, North America $12,500
Fish CR Berovides´ Rivulus Rivulus berovidesi Sheila Rodríguez Machado N/A Cuba, North America $3,700
Amphibian CR Western spiny frog Eleutherodactylus symingtoni L. Yusnaviel García-Padrón Natural History Museum of Pinar del Río, Cuba Cuba, North America $1,915
Amphibian CR Gorgan’s cave newt Iranodon gorganensis Saeed Hosseinian Yousefkhani Young Researchers and Elite club, Islamic Azad University, Shirvan branch, Shirvan, Iran Iran, Asia $6,800
Amphibian CR Kurdistan Newt Neurergus microspilotus Hiva Faizi N/A Iran, Asia $1,900
Amphibian CR Western Nimba toad Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis Adam Jakab N/A Guinea, Africa $3,600
Amphibian DD Bahia Lime Treefrog Sphaenorhynchus bromelicola Gabriel Novaes-e-Fagundes N/A Brazil, South America $2,500
Reptile CR Galapagos pink land iguana Conolophus marthae Gabriele Gentile University of Rome "Tor Vergata" Ecuador, South America $7,000
Reptile CR Cooper-lizard Pristidactylus casuhatiensis Pablo Grilli Fundación Hábitat y Desarrollo Argentina, South America $5,000
Reptile CR Guatemalan beaded lizard Heloderma charlesbogerti Brad Lock The International Reptile Conservation Foundation Guatemala, North America $3,800
Reptile CR Nubian flapshell turtle Cyclanorbis elegans Luca M. Luiselli IDECC Institute for Development Ecology Conservation & Cooperation South Sudan, Africa $10,500
Reptile CR Central American River Turtle Dermatemys mawii Rick Hudson Turtle Survival Alliance Belize, North America $12,500
Bird CR Townsend’s Shearwater Puffinus auricularis auricularis Federico Mendez Sanchez Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C. Mexico, North America $11,000
Bird NE Steppe Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus alboaxillaris Peter Ryan FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology Mozambique, Africa $11,200
Bird CR Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius Rob Sheldon RDS Conservation Sudan, Africa $4,500
Bird CR Maui Parrotbill Pseudonestor xanthophrys Holly Robertson American Bird Conservancy United States, North America $7,500
Bird CR Grenada Dove Leptotila wellsi Ana Boudreau American Bird Conservancy Grenada, North America $12,500
Mammal EN Mountain tapir Tapirus pinchaque Renzo Piana Spectacled Bear Conservation-Peru Peru, South America $4,500
Mammal NT White rhino Ceratotherium simum Geoffrey Chege Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Kenya, Africa $10,000
Mammal CR dinagat bushy tailed cloud rat Crateromys australis Milada Rehakova Tarsius, z. s. Philippines, Asia $12,500
Mammal CR Jamaican greater funnel-eared bat Natalus jamaicensis Michelle Vryn Bat Conservation International Jamaica, North America $8,000
Mammal CR Chinese pangolin Manis pentadactyla Nabajit Das Primate Research Centre NE India India, Asia $6,500
Mammal EN Indian pangolin Manis crassicaudata Vikram Aditya Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment India, Asia $10,000
Mammal EW Northern White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum cottoni Philip Winter N/A South Sudan, Africa $10,000
Mammal VU Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Sagar Dahal Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation Nepal, Asia $8,912
Fish EN Rush Darter Etheostoma phytophilum Jeffrey Drummond Freshwater Land Trust United States, North America $25,000
Mammal CR Preuss's red colobus Piliocolobus preussi Ekwoge Abwe Ebo Forest Research Project Cameroon, Africa $25,000
Mammal EN Bornean Bay Cat Catopuma badia Gabriella Fredriksson Pro Natura Foundation Indonesia, Asia $14,830
Mammal NT Pallas's cat Otocolobus manul Buyandelger Suuri Steppe Wildlife Conservation and Research Ceneter Mongolia, Asia $6,750
Mammal EN Persian leopard Panthera pardus ciscaucasica Magomedrasul Magomedov N/A Russia, Asia $7,274
Fungi NE Veldie's lepidella Amanita veldiei Marieka Gryzenhout University of the Free State South Africa, Africa $10,000
Fungi NE Macrofungi of India Macrofungi Nirmal Harsh Retired from Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehradun, India India, Asia $13,000
Fungi NT meadow mushroom / pink bottom / field mushroom Agaricus campestris Ahmed Abdel-Azeem Arab Society for Fungal Conservation Egypt, Africa $13,000
Plant CR Hopea bancana Hopea bancana Iyan Robiansyah Bogor Botanic Gardens, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Indonesia, Asia $5,000
Plant NE Nereia Nereia lophocladia Brendan Kelaher Southern Cross University Australia, Oceania $4,800
Invertebrate EN Kaiser I Hind Teinopalpus imperialis Bhaiya Khanal Nepal Bio heritage Forum Nepal, Asia $3,700
Invertebrate EW Mauru tree snail Partula varia Ravahere Taputuarai Partulid Global Species Management Programme French Polynesia, Oceania $24,000
Invertebrate DD Cangrejito barranqueño Pseudothelphusa dugesi Diego viveros Morelos State University, Mexico Mexico, North America $12,000
Invertebrate NE Window Pan Oyster Placuna placenta Sumedha Chinnari Aquamarina Research Foundation India, Asia $4,000
Invertebrate EN Violet Copper Lycaena helle Nina Balashenko State Scientific and Production Amaligmation «The scientific and practical center for bioreserses» Belarus, Europe $5,000
Invertebrate NE Spindle cone Conasprella aculeiformis Raveendran Ravinesh University of Kerala, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries India, Asia $10,000
Amphibian EN Inyanga river frog Amietia inyangae Robert Hopkins self employed Zimbabwe, Africa $2,000
Amphibian EX Atelopus podocarpus Atelopus podocarpus Andrés Merino-Viteri La Balsa de los Sapos, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador Ecuador, South America $8,050
Amphibian CR Whistling Shrub Frog Pseudophilautus nemus Charith Senanayake Rainforest Rescue International Sri Lanka, Asia $7,500
Amphibian EN Oriente bromeliad frog Eleutherodactylus ionthus Ansel Fong N/A Cuba, North America $2,500
Amphibian EN Axolotl Ambystoma altamirani Armando Tovar Humedalia Mexico, North America $3,500
Fish CR Damba mipentina Paretroplus maculatus Thomas Juhasz University of Veterinary Medicine Madagascar, Africa $4,300
Fish DD Andamia heteroptera Andamia heteroptera Gatot Nugroho Susanto N/A Indonesia, Asia $4,800
Fish EN Humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus Jelvas Mwaura Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Kenya, Africa $10,500
Fish EN Wilpita rasbora Rasbora wilpita Hiranya SUDASINGHE N/A Sri Lanka, Asia $4,000
Reptile CR Pink Iguana Conolophus marthae Luis Ortiz-Catedral Massey University Ecuador, South America $24,500
Reptile CR West African slender-snouted crocodile Mecistops cataphractus Emmanuel Amoah Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology Ghana, Africa $13,200
Reptile CR Coahuila Box Turtle Terrapene coahuila Craig Stanford Turtle Conservancy Mexico, North America $11,900
Reptile CR Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle Rafetus swinhoei Timothy McCormack Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) - Asian Turtle Program (ATP) Vietnam, Asia $11,400
Reptile CR Yangtze giant softshell turtle Rafetus swinhoei Tracie Seimon Wildlife Conservation Society Vietnam, Asia $5,000
Bird CR Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi Bárbara Silva SAVE Brasil Brazil, South America $5,000
Bird CR Blue-eyed Ground-dove Columbina cyanopis Albert Aguiar SAVE Brasil Brazil, South America $6,000
Bird CR Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis Lawrence Wagura Natural Africa Concern Kenya, Africa $5,000
Bird CR Sulu Bleedingheart Pigeon Gallicolumba menagei Ivan Sarenas to be formed Philippines, Asia $5,000
Bird CR Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis Tjalle Boorsma Asociacion Civil Armonia Bolivia, South America $5,000
Bird EN White-throated Storm-petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa Nick Holmes Island Conservation French Polynesia, Oceania $12,500
Mammal VU Güiña Leopardus guigna Francisca Romero Guigna Conservation Project Chile, South America $13,000
Mammal VU Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Anya Ratnayaka Small Cat Advocacy and Research Sri Lanka, Asia $5,967
Mammal VU Beira Dorcatragus Megalotis Abdi Jama Nature Somaliland/NGO. Somaliland, Africa $10,000
Mammal VU Martinos Snow Vole Dinaromys bogdanovi Admir Aladžuz Individual researcher Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe $4,993
Mammal EN giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis David Fleck Acate Amazon Conservación Peru, South America $4,920
Mammal CR Hill’s horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hilli Michelle Vryn Bat Conservation International Rwanda, Africa $11,000
Mammal CR western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla Nicholas Bachand Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project / Projet Gorille Fernan-Vaz Gabon, Africa $12,000
Mammal CR Grauer's gorilla Gorilla beringei graueri Valerie Haulk Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Congo, Democratic Republic of (Congo-Kinshasa), Africa $7,000

Project Management

The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project represents the first coordinated global effort ever undertaken to conserve dugongs and their seagrass habitats.

The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project

The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project represents the first coordinated global effort ever undertaken to conserve dugongs and their seagrass habitats. Having supported 43 individual conservation initiatives in key countries across the globe that host populations of these charismatic marine mammals, the mission of the Project has been to prevent the loss of dugongs and their seagrass habitats throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins.

Now in its final review stage following its successful completion in March  2019, the Project was established in 2015 through a partnership between the Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the United Nations Environment Program, the Global Environment Facility and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals).

Administered from Abu Dhabi, its sub-projects were based in key dugong hotspots around the world: Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu.

View website


The MBZ Fund manages a portfolio of Abu Dhabi's philanthropic interests related to species conservation that extends across the world and different species.



Supporting Panthera and global wild cat conservation

Through its international partnerships, the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund seeks to support major efforts to ensure the wellbeing of species under threat across the globe. One such example is the Fund’s strong and ongoing support for Panthera – the only organisation that is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems.

Powered by the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and implements conservation strategies for large cats – including Cheetahs, Jaguars, Leopards, Lions, Pumas, Snow leopards and Tigers – as well as for the world’s most threatened small cat species. Panthera’s activities include the following major programmes.

Mapping the future of the Jaguar in the Americas
This bold, regionally-focused initiative will pave the way for further international cooperation and awareness regarding Jaguar protection initiatives.

Ending poaching in Africa
In southern Africa, Panthera has made great progress in reducing intensive poaching of Cheetahs, Leopards, Lions and their prey in Kafue National Park, Zambia, and Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. Panthera also supports anti-poaching efforts in Gabon’s Batéké Plateau National Park.

Tigers on the rebound in South Asia
Thanks to intensive protection and innovative community programs initiated at Panthera’s ‘Tigers Forever’ sites in India and Nepal, survey results released in 2018 showed that Tigers are bouncing back, providing hope for their recovery in other areas.

Saving Snow Leopards with Tourism in India
In Ladakh, northern India, Panthera works with the Snow Leopard Conservancy–India Trust to improve local livelihoods and transform the image of Snow leopards from livestock killers to valuable assets.

View website


Wild Atwater Chicken

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Reintroduction Programme

Once a common sight across the southern prairies of the United States, the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) has been living on the edge of extinction for decades.

At its lowest point, the population of these grassland grouse – which once ranged across six million acres of prairie along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Louisiana – fell to less than 500 individuals and the species has been restricted for years to a small area of southern Texas. Today they are still considered one of the most endangered birds in North America.

Dressed in the drab camouflage you might expect from a ground-hunting species, they are best known for their stunning breeding displays, during which the male birds inflate their bright yellow neck pouches and proceed to vocalise – or ‘boom’ – to attract females.

Financial contributions, channeled through the MBZ Fund, have supported the reintroduction of this bird into the grasslands of the United States.

View website


The MBZ Fund is governed according to standards set by the government of Abu Dhabi. Accordingly, the Fund is audited by an independent firm to ensure compliance with these standards. The audited financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2018 are available for review here.View our 2018 Audited Financial Statement



The endowment

The endowment of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund was created in April 2009, with an initial allocation of $27.5m. Since then, it has been managed in such a way as to provide for the financial needs of the small grants programme in perpetuity.

The long-term objective of the endowment, as described in its Investment Policy Statement, is:

  1. to make annual distributions for the benefit of species conservation, in accordance with the MBZ Fund’s spending rule;
  2. to preserve the capital in US dollars over a 10-year time horizon; and, to the extent that these two objectives are met,
  3. to grow the capital by having financial returns in excess of the distributions made.

Having celebrated its first decade at the end of April 2019, the endowment’s capital has risen from $27.5m to $29.6m, while $14.3m had been distributed in grants over the same period, achieving all three of the endowment’s goals.

The Fund’s Investment Policy targets a long-term rate of return on assets of 5% net, measured in USD and using a total return approach (income as well as capital gains). Over this first decade, the annualised net performance of the endowment has been +4.6%, approximately in line with the target.

In July 2015, the Fund appointed Perennium as its independent financial advisor. Perennium assists with establishing and reviewing investment policy, objectives and guidelines; defining strategic asset allocations; selecting investment options and managers; reviewing such options and managers over time; measuring and evaluating investment performance; and producing consolidated financial reports.

Markets and performance in 2018

For financial markets, 2018 was one of the most turbulent years in recent memory. In the US, the S&P500 registered a fall of 4.4%, while the MSCI Europe ended the year at -10%, marking the worst year for both indices since 2008.

Portfolio management was made particularly difficult by the fact that the vast majority of financial assets fell simultaneously.

In this context, the MBZ Fund portfolio delivered a net performance of -2.54%, demonstrating its resilience. The equities bucket was responsible for 85% of this drop, with high yield and hedge funds also in the red. On the other hand, fixed income (investment grade), private equity and microfinance were positive contributors.

The endowment fund's capital has risen from $27.5m to $29.6m while also managing to distribute nearly $20m

The future: 2019 and beyond

With the global economy in its tenth year of expansion, a recession may be imminent, and a slowdown in growth – led by the US and China – with periodic “growth scares” is the most likely outcome. Europe remains fragile, both economically and politically, and volatility in financial markets is likely to accelerate.

We are not, however, changing our asset allocation on the basis of market forecasts, and the investment philosophy of the Fund remains rooted in its three core tenets:

  • The understanding that investing is about dealing with uncertainty. Trying to predict short-term market movements is a futile exercise. On the contrary, one must prepare for all eventualities.
  • The focus on portfolio resilience, using components having the right level of true diversification (i.e., different behaviours). Portfolio construction is the key element of the investing value chain.
  • The choice of a (very) long-term view. A long investment horizon also allows the use of a wider range of financial assets and a better connection with the real economy.


Distribution of funds

Distribution of proceeds from endowment

In 2018 the Fund supported 188 projects selected from 1,555 grant applications. The selected projects, located in 80 countries across seven continents, shared $1,517,355 in funding. These projects covered 179 different species, 95 of which had not previously been supported by the Fund.

Distribution of funds by species type
Distribution of funds by continent
North America
South America
Distribution of Funds by IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated
Data Deficient
Least Concern
Near Threatened
Critically Endangered
Extinct in the Wild

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund remains dedicated to fulfilling the vision of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to support species conservation efforts in all their forms across the globe. Inspired by this vision, and the dedication of the many conservationists, researchers and scientists working in the field to assess and protect our most vulnerable flora and fauna, the Fund is committed to preserving the extraordinary biodiversity of Earth for generations to come.

Mailing address:

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species
Conservation Fund
P.O. Box 131112
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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Principal Investigator (PI)