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May 2024

Fund launch for SMALL MAMMALS!!!

Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat (copyright Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)

We are thrilled to announce a new fund that is available specifically for small mammals – namely rodents, hedgehogs, shrews, moles and solenodons!  The Fonseca Species Conservation Fund is now accepting proposals for amphibians, freshwater fish, primates, small mammals, and tortoises and freshwater turtles of the African continent and the Indian Ocean.

Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat

Re:wild and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced the launch of the Fonseca Species Conservation Fund for early career conservationists from GEF-recipient countries working to conserve amphibians, freshwater fish, primates, small mammals, and tortoises and freshwater turtles in GEF-recipient countries.

The first request for proposals is now live for species of the African continent and the Indian Ocean. Submission deadline: 19 July 2024. Requests for proposals will open for the Asia-Pacific later in 2024, and the Americas in early 2025.

About the fund 

The Fonseca Species Conservation Fund (FSCF) was established in 2024 by the GEF and Re:wild to honor the passion of the late Gustavo Fonseca, long-standing GEF Director of Programs, for species conservation and building capacity of the next generation of conservationists.

The FSCF is a component of the Fonseca Leadership Program providing grants to field projects that promote species conservation and that are led by early career conservationists from GEF-recipient countries. The Fund permits grants of up to $25,000 for conservation efforts in GEF-recipient countries that are directed at species groups in urgent need of intervention and conservation action.

The FSCF draws on the expertise of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialist Group and taxon-specific conservation groups to ensure all funding goes to priority projects, mobilises the expertise of existing review boards, and is part of a wider network of support – both funding and technical – for grantees.

The small mammal Africa priorities will be species-focused projects that feature small mammals high up on ZSL’s EDGE list:

Table of EDGE Africa small mammals

We are also interested in proposals for work that cover multiple species in our small mammal Key Regions:

• Tanzania
• Albertine Rift
• Cameroonian Highlands
• Ethiopia

For full details of the fund, including how to apply, go to the website.

General questions about the fund should be directed to the focal point on the Request for Proposals. However, for small mammal specific questions please email us on

Left: Ethiopian Water Mouse. Right: African savannah landscape in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Image credits: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat), Field Museum of Natural History (Ethiopian Water Rat), Umarella Voyage Safaris (Tsavo East National Park).


Almiquí Project update

Norvis collecting samples in the field

Our local partners are continuing their valuable work in the mountains of the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Cuba, to learn more about the fascinating globally endangered and evolutionarily distinct Cuban Solenodon, known locally as the ‘almiquí’. 

The partnership with the IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group and local biologist Norvis Hernández and her team is kindly funded by Zoo New England, who have adopted the Cuban Solenodon Conservation Project as one of their Conservation Partnerships, providing expertise and support for our fieldwork activities.

Studying the almiquí is a challenge! They are found up in the difficult to access pristine forests in the mountains above 740m.

The team has been undertaking field surveys across the species’ range in the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. This includes searching for indirect field signs – den sites, scats, and distinctive areas where they have foraged – and also some camera trapping.

As you can see, it often rains up in the mountains!

January trip

Earlier this year, Dr Ros Kennerley visited the project to see how they are getting along. The weather was brilliant during the short field visit to a new area of the national park, however the high amounts of rainfall in the preceding months meant that the river was too deep to cross at some points. The team found some promising good quality forest, that they will explore in greater detail during a field trip in May.

Check out the photos below to see more of the field site and team.