ICF Receives Disney Conservation Grants

For more information: Becky Abel, Grants Manager, (608) 356-9462 ext. 144

Baraboo, WI, October 16, 2014 – The International Crane Foundation (ICF) has been awarded two $25,000 grants from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). The conservation grants recognize ICF’s efforts to protect critical habitats for threatened cranes while engaging local communities in Vietnam and South Africa.

“We are honored that Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund chose to support ICF’s much needed conservation efforts in South Africa and Vietnam,” Dr. Rich Beilfuss, ICF President and CEO said. “For nearly two decades, Disney has been an important supporter of our conservation efforts worldwide.”

Through the Phu My Project in Vietnam, ICF will work with local communities to protect wetlands needed by vulnerable Sarus Cranes in the Mekong Delta. The project provides alternative income sources for local communities, who sustainably harvest wetland vegetation to manufacture woven baskets, purses and other products. Income from these products results in a win-win for local communities and cranes, supporting both good-paying jobs and wetland conservation of the wetlands upon which these jobs depend.

Photo: Above right, a young woman in Phu My, Vietnam weaves a basket using native wetland vegetation. ICF’s Phu My Project supports both people and cranes by developing locally-produced baskets, purses and other products that provide much needed income for local communities while protecting wetlands from development. Photo by International Crane Foundation.

In partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust based in South Africa, the Cranes and Wetlands Project will secure and aim to increase breeding numbers of the country’s critically endangered Wattled Cranes, near threatened Blue and endangered Grey Crowned Cranes through the protection of the Hlatikulu Catchment, an important water catchment for South Africa. As with the Phu My project, the commitment of local farmers and community members is critical, as they will become ongoing custodians of this region through a stewardship program.

Photo: Left, the endangered Grey Crowned Crane, once thought to be among the most numerous of cranes, is now the fastest declining crane species. ICF and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wetlands Project will protect important habitat needed by Grey Crowned, Wattled and Blue Cranes in South Africa. Photo by Shawn Olesen

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund focuses on protecting wildlife and connecting kids and families with nature. Since its founding in 1995, DWCF has provided more than $25 million to support conservation programs in 114 countries. Projects were selected to receive awards based upon their efforts to study wildlife, protect habitats and develop community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems.

For information on Disney’s commitment to conserve nature and a complete list of 2014 grant recipients, visit ww.disney.com/conservation.

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Founded in 1973, ICF is a 501(c)(3) organization that works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. ICF provides knowledge, leadership, and inspiration to engage people in resolving threats to cranes and their diverse landscapes.  Learn more about our global conservation efforts at www.savingcranes.org.