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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

29 June 2004

Helping hotspots in Asia and the Pacific

Minister announces funding for projects to help save endangered species in our region

The habitats of some of the world's most threatened species, including the Sumatran Tiger and Vietnam's Black Crested Gibbon, will be conserved thanks to Australian Government funded projects announced today.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the projects, funded under the three-year, $10 million Regional Natural Heritage Programme (RNHP), would help conserve threatened areas of high biological diversity -'biodiversity hotspots' - upon which so many threatened species depend for their survival.

The announcement follows the launch of the programme by the Prime Minister, John Howard in conjunction with Senator Meg Lees earlier this year.

Projects that will be funded include: Mondulkiri Elephant Conservation (Cambodia); conservation of Eastern Black Crested Gibbon and Snub-nosed Monkey (Vietnam); environmental education training and community awareness programme for Tam Dao National Park (Vietnam), community conservation of the Gau Highlands and the critically endangered Fiji Petrel in Gau Island (Fiji); delivering conservation and policy development for the Sulu Sulawesi Seas (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines); conservation of Coral Reef Hotspots in the Bismarck Sea (Papua New Guinea); and enhancement of biodiversity conservation in Indonesia .

Recent studies by Conservation International revealed that the remaining natural habitat in these biodiversity 'hotspots' represents only 1.4 per cent of the land surface of the planet, but supports almost 44 per cent of the world's higher plant species and 35 per cent of all terrestrial vertebrate species.

"In partnership with our regional neighbours, non-government and community-based organisations and the private sector, the Australian Government will help tackle these great environmental challenges.

International organizations such as the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and BirdLife International will assist with implementation of these regional conservation projects.

For more information about the biodiversity 'hotspots' programme, visit the Department of the Environment and Heritage website at, or contact the Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.

Further information on these regional programmes is attached.

Regional Natural Heritage Programme Projects

Mondulkiri Elephant Conservation Project, Cambodia
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) - $62 156

Enhanced conservation of elephants through the primary objective of providing natural resource and landscape management and capacity building for government and communities.

Conserving Vietnam's Critically Endangered Primates
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) - $59 810

Long-term protection and conservation of the Eastern Black Crested Gibbon and Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey, two of the world's five most Critically Endangered primates through improved law enforcement and reduced use of forest wood resources.

Developing Local Partnerships in Environmental Education and Training at Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam
Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) - $75 193

Develop ongoing environmental education and training for protected area staff, local communities, students and educators through an environmental education training centre and facilities in the buffer zone of Tam Dao National Park, and also a model community-based environmental education initiative in partnership with local stakeholders for raising conservation awareness amongst the communities bordering the national park.

Community conservation of the Gau Highlands and the Critically Endangered Fiji Petrel, Gau Island, Fiji.
National Trust for Fiji Islands - $24 250

Gau Island, Fiji, has a high concentration of endemic species, which includes examples of the world's lowest altitude Cloud Forest, which provides the habitat for the Critically Endangered Fiji Petrel. This project aims to enhance the conservation of the area through a series of community awareness activities.

Delivering conservation results and strengthening policy at three priority sites in the Sulu Sulawesi Seas (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines)
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - $66 000

Media contact: Mark Otter: 0438 652 696

Within the Sulu Sulawesi Seas, three initial pilot sites have been selected where proposed activities will increase measurably the protection of marine biodiversity: Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia; Tubbataha World Heritage site and National Marine Protected Area in the Philippines; and Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Saba h, Malaysia. These pilots will contribute to the Sulu Sulawesi Seas Marine Ecoregion programme designed to protect marine biodiversity and ensure sustainable resource use.

Conservation of Coral Reef Hotspots in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - $98 793

Conservation of outstanding marine sites in the Bismarck Sea by strengthening community involvement and extending traditional systems of management for conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems. Objectives include research into, and implementation of, successful marine management strategies and the training of future PNG marine conservation leaders.

Securing Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)/Conservation International (CI) -$250 000 (Note, this is for all three CEPF/CI projects)

Conservation of tigers, elephant and plant diversity in the lowland forest of Sumatra. The activity will enhance the protection and connectivity of lowland forest habitat through approval for, and implementation of, major park extensions as well as lesser boundary adjustments for enlargement of Bukit Tigapuluh National Park.

Protecting Rhinos, Tigers and Elephants in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)/Conservation International (CI)

Support anti-poaching Rhino Patrol Units (RPUs) to help conserve rhino and tigers in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, South Sumatra. The project will help to detect, prosecute and convict poachers, potentially deterring future poachers.

Conservation of rare and endangered species habitat in Sumatra, Indonesia
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)/Conservation International (CI)

Enhance local community awareness of, and participation in, conservation planning and management in of habitat for rare and endangered species, including Sumatran tiger, tapir, sun bear, rhino and 126 bird species in Sumatra.

Support for the Establishment of Effectively Managed Marine Protected Areas as Foundations for Resilient Networks of Functionally Connected Marine Protected Areas, Wakatobi National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) - $145 230

Wakatobi National Park, 1.39 million ha of islands and surrounding waters, declared as a protected area in 1996, is a top priority for marine conservation in Indonesia and a potential centrepiece for a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Banda-Flores Seas, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The objectives are to increase MPA management effectiveness through consultative and collaborative long-term management planning, enhanced conservation awareness, alternative resource uses, scientific monitoring and development of a resilient, large-scale MPA network.

Integrated human and conservation development at Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalim antan, Indonesia
Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF) - $39 374

Support for the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Program within Tanjung Puting National Park. The focus will be on: conservation of biodiversity through scientific research for habitat rehabilitation and wildlife release; enhanced environmental awareness of local communities; sustainable land use practices; local community health and education support; and community-based eco-tourism.

Commonwealth of Australia