Wildlife conservation received a boost today from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust which provided essential seed funding to The Peregrine Fund, a global raptor conservation organization headquartered in Boise, Idaho. The grant supports a groundbreaking technological initiative called the Global Raptor Impact Network or GRIN, which will track populations of the world’s raptor species in near real time and drive conservation action for birds of prey and their habitats worldwide. “The Trust is widely recognized as one of the most rigorous environmental grant makers in the country, so it is particularly gratifying to have their validation of GRIN as the cornerstone of our Vision 2050 strategic plan,” said Dr. Rick Watson, President and CEO of The Peregrine Fund.
This project will enable scientists around the world to keep up with the incredible rate of change to our planet and the increasing number of species in need of urgent conservation action. “The data will reveal declines as they occur and predict trouble spots before they happen instead of years after the fact,” says Dr. Richard Watson, President and CEO of The Peregrine Fund. “GRIN will prioritize conservation actions on behalf of formerly little-known or completely unrecognized species and island endemic forms that have not been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data List for lack of information resources.”
Dr. Chris McClure, Director of Global Conservation Science notes, “We have beta-tested this concept on a smaller scale with the African Raptor DataBank or ARDB.” The Peregrine Fund collaborated with Habitat Info and other partners to create a system that engaged raptor researchers across the continent of Africa over a five-year period to collect real-time data, via a smart phone app, that estimated range size and distribution of raptors using IUCN’s criteria to assess extinction risk. “Our results from just five years of data collection, combined with historical data, contributed to the up-listing of six African vultures to endangered or critically endangered status,” continues McClure. “This initiated a global response to put into action conservation plans to prevent the impending extinction of these valuable scavengers.”
GRIN will adapt the ARDB’s goals to achieve results on a global scale. These results will give scientists the ability to:
- Better identify species of raptors that are critically endangered
- Identify places of high conservation value to raptors
- Determine which threats are most affecting raptor populations (e.g. poisoning, wind power, persecution, electrocution)
- Prescribe conservation actions to improve raptor populations
- Adaptively monitor conservation efforts to determine if desired outcomes are being achieved
- Disseminate data and results
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s support will allow The Peregrine Fund to hire two specialized scientists, a Database Architect and a Spatial Ecologist, which will increase the organization’s capacity to collect, analyze, interpret, and report on global raptor trends. In addition this funding allows for an update of the original GRIN website, which will become the public interface for this mission-critical undertaking.
“Protecting wildlife so all species can flourish and thrive in their natural habitat is critical to the conservation of the Pacific Northwest,” said Steve Moore, Executive Director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “We are pleased to be able to support The Peregrine Fund as they work to preserve and protect the endangered raptor population.”
“The Peregrine Fund has specialized in recovery of critically endangered birds of prey for nearly 50 years,” says Watson. “We have a history of saving species, starting with the Peregrine Falcon and growing to include raptors on six continents, but we recognize the need to expand our mission to ensure that all species of raptors found worldwide thrive. Because of the Murdock Charitable Trust’s generous support of GRIN, we will have the tools necessary to prevent raptor extinctions, protect areas of high conservation value, and address landscape level threats that impact many species.”
The Peregrine Fund was founded in 1970 to restore the then critically endangered Peregrine Falcon, which was subsequently removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999. That success encouraged the organization to expand its focus and apply its experience and understanding to raptor conservation efforts on behalf of 140 species in 66 countries worldwide, including the Bald Eagle, California Condor, and Aplomado Falcon in the United States. Our mission is to conserve birds of prey worldwide. We conserve raptors by addressing critical situations facing species on the brink, protecting areas of high conservation value, and tackling landscape-level threats impacting multiple species. Because we know that conservation requires humans working together with one vision we work hard to enrich and engage communities in the places where we work. We know it is critical to inspire people to value raptors and take action, serve as a catalyst for change, and invest in tomorrow’s conservation leaders.
About M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.
For more information, contact:
Director of Global Engagement
Main Phone: 208-362-3716
Direct Phone: 208-362-8277