A new study shows that crowdfunding is helping to protect iconic species such as the African elephant, black rhinoceros, and Bornean orangutan.
Lead author, PhD candidate in University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences’ Fuller Lab Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao said crowdfunding has successfully harnessed the power of the internet to increase public awareness of conservation and support fundraising efforts
“Raising funds is critical for conserving biodiversity and anecdotal evidence had indicated that crowdfunding was being used to support a variety of conservation activities yet its magnitude and allocation were largely unknown,” he said.
Mr Gallo-Cajiao, who is working on global governance for conserving migratory shorebirds, said the study found conservationists, including scientists and practitioners, have raised US$4.8M through crowdfunding since 2009, with projects delivered in 80 countries across all continents, supporting the conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
“208 species have been the explicit focus of crowdfunded projects, many of them iconic and of high conservation concern, such as the Orange-bellied parrot from southeastern Australia and the Vaquita porpoise from the Gulf of California”.
“Crowfunded conservation projects are helping protect wilderness areas in remote areas of Tasmania, reduce killings of African lions in Tanzania, and conduct research that informs conservation of the Californian coast,” he said.
“Crowdfunding is supporting research and monitoring, management, as well as advocacy and outreach. For instance, a crowdfunded project supported the purchase and training of two Maremma sheepdogs to guard a penguin colony in southeastern Australia, protecting these flightless birds from fox predation.”
He said while crowdfunding is a mechanism for accessing funds, it also enables experimentation with novel ideas that could be replicated, but are difficult to fund through traditional sources which still provided the majority of support.
WildCrowd is a not-for-profit crowdfunding website that supports researchers at universities in the UK working on conservation projects worldwide. If you have a project that you think might be suitable for crowdfunding please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Unlike most crowdfunding websites you will receive the money you raise immediately and we provide rewards for donors so you don’t have to.
*The study, published in Conservation Biology (https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13144) is co-authored by UQ’s Carla Archibald, Rachel Friedman, Rochelle Steven, and Professor Richard Fuller, and Edward Game of The Nature Conservancy, and Associate Professor Tiffany Morrison of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and Associate Professor Euan Ritchie of Deakin University.