Our Mission - Protecting Wildlife and Wild Places
RSCF is dedicated to preserving biodiversity through hands-on conservation programs rooted in sound science. We employ the "Flagship Species" concept to identify and conserve high profile, priority species in order to leverage protection for the ecosystems they represent.
Dominica - The Nature Island of the Eastern Caribbean
January 21, 2020 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Morne Diablotin National Park (MDNP) on Dominica—a conservation milestone for the eastern Caribbean and the world’s first new national park of the millennium. MDNP’s formation was possible through a strong partnership between the Government of Dominica and the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF), with over $1M US in generated international funding and island-wide support. MDNP is a living embodiment of Dominica’s commitment to natural resource protection and a unified vision to save her national bird, the Imperial Amazon Parrot, or Sisserou. Without MDNP and decades of tangible, progressive, in situ conservation action by Dominica’s Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, local people and partners like RSCF, the Sisserou would never have recovered from devastating Hurricane David in 1979 nor survived the most powerful hurricane to strike Dominica in recorded history, Hurricane Maria, in September 2017. The Sisserou’s comeback is again underway, and we are inspired by new sightings across MDNP, the Northern and Central Forest Reserves, Morne Trois Pitons National Park, and adjacent forests. Ongoing parrot surveys by Forestry’s expert parrot team, funded by RSCF, continue to quantify the distribution and abundance of both endemic Dominican parrots post-Maria. Please join us in celebrating the Park and wildlife’s incredible resilience on Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean.
Jan 20, 2000 Children dressed as Sisserou parrots sing during the MDNP dedication ceremony.
Double-click images to open in expanded view
Dominica Parrot Controversy after Hurricane Maria
RSCF, along with over 40 national and international researchers, veterinarians, and conservation leaders are continuing to express grave concerns regarding the March 17, 2018 transfer of endemic, rare parrots from Dominica to Germany. In the link below, read the latest communications, including a link to questionable CITES documents, shared on May 1, 2018 with the Executive Director of the United Nations Programme as well as representatives within CITES, the government of Dominica, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the European Union.
January 24, 2019
Birds Caribbean publishes a follow-up to The Guardian in-depth reporting on the removal of parrots from Dominica to Germany.
FLORIDA GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
Inside the Struggle to Save North America's Most Endangered Bird
Miami Herald, 03/13/19 North Americas most endangered bird faces a new threat: feuding wildlife managers
"In a letter to researchers last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it planned to shut down a Palm Beach County breeding program, the larger of only two in the nation, amid ongoing concerns over a newly identified parasite making the birds sick. Federal managers want to free some birds and move others to the second facility in North Florida. Researchers fear those actions could spread the parasite and endanger the last wild population." Click here for the complete article
Audubon Magazine, September 2018
We’re looking at imminent extinction of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow in the wild in a year or two,” says Dr. Paul Reillo, the founder and president of the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF), whose Jurassic Park about 15 miles straight west of the current U.S. president’s winter White House is home to several dozen critically endangered Mountain Bongo Antelope, more than 80 endangered Red-browed Amazon Parrots, and one of the two sparrow captive-breeding efforts now underway. “This might be the last opportunity to build a platform for the future. This season we’re going to grab onto whatever is left on the table. We should save everything that has a chance of living, because this is the last gasp for this species.”
The September 2018 issue of Audubon Magazine features the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow on the cover, with an in-depth look at the heroic efforts of RSCF and the USFWS to save this critically endangered Florida endemic. Click here for the complete article, written by Audubon Vice President, Content Mark Jannot and featuring stunning photographs by Mac Stone.
March 24, 2020 From the Director--Life During Coronavirus
Dear fellow wildlife and nature lovers,
The covid-19 crisis is affecting all living things on Earth, presenting the first truly global pandemic in this past century. Its seismic impact on wildlife conservation is profound, as revenue streams for habitat and species protection and environmental stewardship instantly vanish with the tourism industries upon which they depend. In addition, whereas wildlife and environmental causes always receive a paltry fraction of overall philanthropic and grant revenues, the sudden critical, intense focus on human public health—coupled with dramatic market downturns—signals a very dark immediate future for nature funding. How long this financial crisis will persist is uncertain, but the current societal, political and infrastructural perturbations are likely to reverberate across biodiversity’s life-support systems for years.
In contrast to the many unknowns surrounding the pandemic, wildlife policy positions are now clear and self-evident:
(1) all consumptive trade in all wildlife, especially, but not restricted to known and suspected hosts for zoonotics (e.g., bats), must cease immediately; (2) legal, commercial trade in wildlife and wildlife products must be strictly regulated and laws vigilantly enforced without exception; and (3) a fresh, comprehensive educational campaign to inform all of humanity of its interconnectedness with and responsibility for nature is now urgent.
Much of our natural world, including critically endangered species and imperiled ecosystems, depends upon people and their well-being. The sooner our species adopts an elevated consciousness for nature, the sooner we will appreciate that the covid-19 pandemic is a scourge of our own making and that protective and science-based respect for wildlife will ensure both ours and biodiversity’s futures.
President, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
Director, Tropical Conservation Institute
Research Professor, Florida International University