16 November 2020

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Players of People's Postcode Lottery have helped local people to protect wildlife during the global pandemic.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the world’s oldest international conservation organisation, was able to react quickly when Covid-19 struck, thanks in no small measure to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

FFI recognises that long-term conservation success hinges on empowering communities, organisations, and individuals to protect the biodiversity on their own doorsteps. It works hand in hand with hundreds of partners in over 40 countries to save threatened habitats and species. Nature conservation depends on strong local organisations.

In the current crisis, there is a considerable risk that some key local organisations with which FFI works might not survive, due to reduced income, restrictions on travel and normal operations, and uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic. This would have a disastrous knock-on effect on elephants, mountain gorillas, pangolins and many more – now under greater threat from poaching and habitat loss than before Covid-19.

In order to ensure that decades of conservation achievements were not undermined and undone, FFI launched its Partner Crisis Support Fund in May, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through a special award to FFI vice-president Sir David Attenborough, which is providing direct support to conservation partners and local communities in Africa, Asia, and Central America.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, FFI’s fund is covering the costs of 52 community rangers, who play a vital role in mountain gorilla conservation. As community members, they are based permanently in their villages and are able to carry out patrol activities, remove snares, and deter poachers despite movement restrictions.

Communities in the Chuilexi Conservancy in Mozambique live in isolation with no mobile phone networks or social media. To ensure that reliable and up-to-date information reached them, FFI staff and partners printed and laminated posters providing guidance about the virus to all local people, delivered hand-washing stations and also established an initiative to mass-produce face masks for communities.

In Kenya, three decades of conservation effort across a network of wildlife conservancies spanning 6.4 million hectares have reduced poaching and illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn, lion claws, leopard skin and pangolins to a very low level across these landscapes. The Crisis Fund is supporting five conservation organisations in the country, to ensure that this work does not stop.

One donor said, "We have supported FFI’s conservation work for more than 20 years. Its approach to partnerships and rapid responses across the globe makes lasting impacts where they are needed most. This is important in times of business-as-usual but crucial in times of crisis."

Players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised £1 million for Fauna & Flora International.

Image: Win Ebersohn/FFI