Latin America

south americaDue to the rainforests in this continent, Latin America is one of the most biodiversity rich places in the world. It has many unique species, some of which we have funded. Find out about a few of them below.

Saving the Albatross.



Around the world, fishermen set extremely long fishing lines, which drift through the ocean. Attached are thousands of hooks baited with fish. Albatrosses often try to feed from these hooks and unwittingly become trapped and drowned. The problem is so bad that most albatrosses are now threatened with extinction.

The BBC Wildlife Fund support was used to help teach fishermen in the South Atlantic how to avoid catching seabirds in their fishing gear. Two task force instructors were employed for 18 months to work with fishing fleets off the coast of Brazil and South Africa, hotspots for albatross deaths.

Action for sharks.



The BBC Wildlife Fund grant helped conservationists learn more about which sharks are living off the coasts of Costa Rica and which species suffer the most from overfishing. This information has assisted the Costa Rican government to implement its national plan for sharks to protect many species before it is too late. If Costa Rica is successful then other Central American countries may follow suit and protect these fish. Progress has been made to get certification for local fisheries, increasing incomes as well as delivering shark conservation measures.

Jaguars as landscape detectives for the conservation of Atlantic Forest.



The BBC Wildlife Fund supported the Whitley Fund for Nature and the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas to help fund work in Brazil. The project has helped to unveil the secret life of the jaguar, one of the world’s most elusive and impressive cats. Through the collaring and tracking of individual jaguars through the Upper Paraná River Corridor, Brazil, conservationists have been able to gather valuable data, helping to understand individual animals and providing information on how they utilise the locations that they visit. As a result it has been learned that jaguars in the region like to travel further than others elsewhere on the continent. The project has held workshops with local farmers within the cat's range, and together conservationists and the local community have helped to develop agroforestry initiatives and restore and connect jaguar forest habitat. That restored forest has expanded a tree-lined corridor linking the Morro do Diabo State Park and the Black Lion Tamarin Ecological Station.

Galapagos Species Monitoring.

Galapagos Penguin & Flightless Cormorant


The BBC Wildlife Fund provided a grant to the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galápagos Conservation Trust to help run a monitoring programme for the Penguin and Cormorant of the Galápagos. This work provided essential information on population numbers, movements, and health, which enabled the Galápagos National Park Service to adopt appropriate management plans for these habitats. Monitoring was carried out, including a complete census and a recapture programme to collect tags holding details on reproduction and movement. Data was also collected on the distribution of feral cats, sea surface temperatures and the abundance and locations of other vertebrate species. Local volunteers from the islands participated in the surveys and the results were communicated to local communities regularly. Education programmes about the Penguins and the Cormorants targeted local schools, and Ecuadorian students were taken on as research assistants.

Partnership for Giant Tortoise conservation and education.

Giant Tortoise

Giant Tortoise

The BBC Wildlife Fund provided a grant to help people connect with the native animals and plants of their islands. This project, based on the Galápagos Islands, is unique and provides academic and technical training for youths through an experiential conservation education programme. Schoolchildren from schools in the Galápagos visited the National Park and assisted staff in their efforts to protect the giant tortoise by weighing & measuring juveniles, incubating & rearing young and repatriating them when they are large enough to survive.

To mitigate the existing threats to the sea turtle populations.



Issues being tackled by the project include destruction of nesting habitat by beach erosion and debris clutter, encroachment of coastal development with its associated problems of nest disturbance and light pollution, pollution from pesticide run-off from nearby plantations and - particularly in Panama - poaching for sea turtle eggs and meat. There is a substantial element of community involvement, both through direct participation in the project, where former poachers, for example, make excellent guards for nest sites - and by direct benefits, including turtle tourism. Such forms of local economic development help provide alternatives to the harvesting of turtle products. The techniques involved have been well tested, particularly the Gandoca beaches of Costa Rica where a 20 year track record of conservation has built in-depth management knowledge along with a good research base.

Building Resilient Conservation Landscapes in the Amazon Piedmont.


Amazon Piedmont

The BBC Wildlife Fund supported this project which is designed to increase the capacity of animals to cope with climate change in two forest conservation landscapes in the Amazon Piedmont region. This project promotes land uses and practices that will increase connectivity and reduce fragmentation of forest ecosystems, providing critical habitat for iconic mammals and other forest species, whilst increasing the ecological integrity of mountain ecosystems, making them less vulnerable to climate change.

The project focuses on the protection of forests in private reserves and national parks, improving agriculture and cattle ranching practices and raising community awareness of the issue.

South American River Dolphins.

River Dolphins

River Dolphins

With support from the Fund, this project made a significant contribution to WWF's South American river dolphin action plan (2010-2020) to ensure future healthy, stable populations of river dolphins throughout the Amazon River basin, which will in turn help to safeguard the integrity of the region's freshwater ecosystems and maintain freshwater resources for local riverine populations. The project focused on one specific site in the middle Putumayo basin and developed sustainable environmental practices which will later be scaled up across the Amazon.

Work delivered by the project may contribute to a potential designation for the area as a Ramsar site, recognising its global importance for bird conservation.

Saving the Henderson Crake.

Henderson Crake

Henderson Crake

To secure the future of the unique ecosystem and biodiversity of Henderson Island, the BBC Wildlife Fund supported an urgent rat eradication operation in 2011. The populations of many of Henderson's threatened endemic birds, invertebrates and plants are likely to increase in the absence of rat predation and competition. The eradication of the non-native rats was therefore essential. The project also aimed to greatly benefit communities as it trained and employed Pitcairn islanders.

A captive population of Henderson crakes was held during the eradication operation which also aimed to preserve the Henderson petrel, likely to become extinct without this project. An unexpected event was the hatching of the first Henderson Crake in captivity.

Unfortunately, during a visit in the following year evidence of the continued presence of rats was found. Lessons have been learnt about the particular issues of eradication in the climate found on Henderson and it is very much hoped that a further successful eradication operation can be delivered on the island.

The last survivors.


Hispaniolan Solenodon

The project's long-term goal is to enable Dominicans and Haitians to conserve the two last remaining endemic land mammal species in Hispaniola ("The Last Survivors") - the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia. The work supported by the fund had four main outcomes: a network of skilled Dominican conservation practitioners and advocates from local communities was trained; local knowledge of the status of the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia and their conservation requirements was improved; awareness of the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia at local, national and international level was raised, leading to increased support for their conservation; the capacity was increased in the Dominican conservation community to conserve the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia. Positive links have been made in Cuba, which offer the opportunity of further gains for Caribbean mammals.

Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative: Pantanal Tapir Program.

Lowland Tapirs

Lowland Tapirs

The Pantanal Tapir Program (PTP) uses tapirs as ambassadors for conservation of the vast Pantanal wetlands, catalysing habitat conservation, environmental education, outreach, training, capacity-building, and scientific tourism initiatives. Tapirs are widely recognised as "umbrella species", i.e. species with large area requirements, which if given sufficient protected habitat, will bring many other species under protection. The PTP is the first project to study and work to conserve tapirs and their threatened Pantanal habitat.

Knowledge of the ecological requirements of tapirs has been significantly improved and camera trapping has been shown to be an effective monitoring tool for these species.

Conserving Scarlet Macaws: Maya Biosphere reserve.

Scarlet Macaws

Scarlet Macaws

The BBC Wildlife Fund supported the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Guatemala to protect the last nesting areas of the northern Central American Scarlet Macaw. WCS has worked to secure and monitor nests in critical locations. Macaws like to nest in tree cavities, but such nest sites are limited. To meet that need, artificial nesting cavities have been created in the area, as well as experiments with a new repellent to deter aggressive Africanised honey bees from colonising these cavities instead of the birds. New field technology using surveillance cameras placed within nest cavities has for the first time revealed important information about how many chicks are taken and by which different predators. WCS has expanded a community environmental education programme in the area to gain support, involving local people in nest monitoring activities. The project has enabled the local timber concession to build macaw conservation into their business plans.

Explore another region

Click on a region below to find out about some of the projects we funded there.

See a full breakdown of the grants we awarded to organisations around the world

Download Grant spreadsheet [38Kb]

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