The Government is to give £25million to wildlife conservation work around the world through the Darwin Initiative. Previous funding has been used to help prevent the extinction of vultures in India.

The Government is to give £25million to wildlife conservation work around the world through the Darwin Initiative, environment secretary Caroline Spelman has announced.

Long Billed Vulture (or Indian Vulture) - Gyps indicus. Image courtesy Nidhin Poothully, Bangalore, India.DEFRA’s Darwin Initiative has already spent more than £80m to help protect biodiversity in 156 countries since its inception in 1992. Over the next four years the scheme will receive a boost of at least £25m in funding.

Announcing the boost, Mrs Spelman said: “I’m proud of our excellent work under the Darwin Initiative – its project leaders have worked wonders in helping to prevent damage to vulnerable wildlife and Earth’s ecosystems and we are committed to strengthening our global partnerships in the economic and scientific response to protecting our natural environment.

“Some of the planet’s richest wildlife is found in developing countries, and over the next four years we’ll make more money and expertise available than ever before to ensure economic development goes hand in hand with protecting valued natural habitats and adapting to the challenges of climate change.”

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman.The Darwin Initiative has already supported a wide range of important work such as a scheme to ensure the survival of critically endangered “mountain chicken” frogs on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

Funding has also been used to help protect river dolphins in Brazil, prevent the extinction of vultures in India and provide training in The Gambia to help monitor fragile ecosystems.

The latest round of bids for Darwin Initiative funding have now started. For more information, visit www.darwin.defra.gov.uk.

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