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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced November 23 nearly $650,000 in grants to conserve and protect 30 critically endangered species in 15 countries around the world ranging from the Siamese crocodile in Asia to the Siberian crane in Russia to the Ethiopian wolf in Africa.
The 24 grants, administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, will leverage more than $1.2 million in matching funds from partner organizations.
"The United States is committed to ensuring that birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles not only survive the threat of extinction but also recover to the point where we have healthy populations," said Secretary Salazar.
"Working with many partners, we are investing in recovery and conservation efforts that will help endangered animals and their habitat around the world. We have a shared responsibility to help safeguard our planet's remarkable biodiversity."
The grants are being awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's new Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Fund. They are a one-time global funding opportunity developed by the International Affairs to augment the Wildlife Without Borders Species and Regional conservation programs.
"These grants are aimed at providing vital support for highly imperiled species and habitats around the world," said Sam Hamilton, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "They focus on collaborating with local communities, partner organizations, universities, and government agencies world-wide."
Three of the funded projects are aimed at combating the spread of a deadly fungus, which is wiping out entire populations of amphibians, primarily frogs, in the Americas. These research projects could lead to a cure for the disease that has caused the extinction of nearly one-third of the frogs and salamanders in the areas where it has spread.
On the African continent, steps will be taken to conserve the last remaining population of Ethiopian wolves, which number approximately 450 individuals. The hope is to inoculate these free-ranging wolves with an oral rabies vaccine that reduces the devastating impact of the disease conferred upon them, at an increasing rate, by domestic and feral dogs.
Of the twenty-four projects selected for funding, eleven will focus on species in Asia, including the Pacific Ocean, seven on Africa, and six on Latin America and the Caribbean.
The United States is committed to working with its international partners to protect endangered wildlife throughout the world.