Merry Christmas from WFN!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2017 has been a busy year at WFN and – with your amazing support – we have given a total of almost £900,000 in conservation funding this year!  A huge thank you to you all!

In May we welcomed six new Whitley Award winners into our ever-growing Winner Network, as well as awarding the £50,000 Whitley Gold Award to previous Whitley Award winner, Zafer Kızılkaya. This October, we also awarded a total of £595,000 in Continuation Funding to nine outstanding conservation leaders from our Whitley Award alumni, ensuring vital conservation work can be scaled-up where the greatest impacts are being made.

All around the world, Whitley Award winners are working hard to protect ecosystems with local support.  Highlights from our winners this year include:

  • After ensuring the Ocean was added to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, 2010 Whitley Award winner Pablo Borboroglu is now working alongside the government of Argentina to foster the designation of five new oceanic Protected Areas including an expansion of the Biosphere Reserve created with WFN support in 2015 to secure critical breeding and feeding habitat for Magellanic penguins in South America.​
  • In a landmark decision, bats – a vital pollinator species – received international support at the 12th Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). 2004 Whitley Award winner and 2012 ‘Year of the Bat Ambassador’, Rodrigo Medellin, importantly identified four species of migratory bats whose populations are at risk of extinction by wind turbines, with hundreds of thousands killed each year. Because of Rodrigo’s findings, in October 2017 the proposal to incentivize cooperation and improve safeguards to protect these species across their range has been adopted at an international level by 126 countries. ​
  • After three years of campaigning the government of Colombia banned the trade of mota fish indefinitely in August 2017 following research conducted by 2007 Whitley Gold Award winner Fernando Trujillo which discovered these fish contain toxic levels of mercury, making them unsafe for human consumption. The mota trade not only risks the health of the nation’s people but fuels the illegal hunting of Amazonian pink river dolphins whose carcasses are used as bait to catch mota fish. Now the trade has been halted, the killing will stop.

Our winners’ incredible achievements are only possible because of you so thank you so much for supporting WFN. 

The quest to find next year’s six new Whitley Award winners, who will each receive £40,000 in project funding at our annual Award Ceremony in the Spring – has already begun. We received 136 applications this year and our panel of external assessors are now scrutinising the selected longlist. We have some very strong applications and we’re excited about the year ahead – 2018 also marks our 25th anniversary so look out for more news in the New Year about how we will be celebrating this landmark moment!