Conservation Intl. lands major grants
Intel co-founder pledges $261 million for unique species
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Conservation International will receive $261 million in grants in the next 10 years to help save threatened and unique animal species and ecosystems around the world, the Washington-based organization announced Sunday.
According to Conservation International, the gift, from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, is the largest ever made to a private conservation organization.
"The rate of species loss and habitat destruction demands immediate attention," said Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation. "Collaboration is critical, and we expect CI to continue to build strong alliances and maintain its commitment to solid science and innovative thinking."
The money will be used, in conjunction with an alliance of partners, to raise $1.5 billion from private sources and another $4.5 billion from the public sector, the group said.
Conservation International has identified tropical wilderness areas -- including the Congo Forest in central Africa, in the Amazon River region of South America and New Guinea -- and 25 biodiversity "hot spots" in more than 40 countries as priorities in its research and field efforts.
The hot spots are places such as the island of Madagascar, east of the African mainland, where natural habitats already are at least 75 percent destroyed, said Conservation International spokesman Brad Phillips. The goal is to preserve what's left.
Many of these locations have animals species found nowhere else, such as the lemur in Madagascar, he said. Another priority is the Caribbean, home to the world's smallest lizard, frog, bird and snake, Phillips said.
At 16 millimeters long, (0.6 inch) the lizard "could curl up on the head of a dime."
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