Lesser-known Endangered Species


China is one of the richest biodiversity countries in the world. With the economic development and population increase, wildlife existing status is becoming worse and worse and more and more species turn into endangered or are in the edge of extinction.
However, in China few people are really aware of the country’s rich biological diversity and the threats it faces. Further more the limited resources available from government agencies for research and public awareness are currently almost all focused on a few very high-profile species, while lesser-known but threatened species and their habitats are received hardly any effective protection at all.

To ease this situation, WWF China set up Wildlife Conservation Small Grant Fund (SGF) in 2001. The purpose of the Fund is to support field-based conservation projects on China’s lesser-known threatened species and their habitats, to rise and strengthen public awareness of bio-diversity and more threatened species, and to promote government agencies to develop more innovative and efficient wildlife conservation strategies.

By June 2008, SGF has supported 85 projects, focusing on more than 57 lesser-known endangered species and their habitats in China.

Project Purposes

The long-time vision of SGF is “a future for wild species valued by people across China”.

  • This project will make substantial contributions to the following Milestones of the Global Species Programme.
  • Population of threatened lesser-known species in China are protected through mitigation of identified threats that result in unsustainable removal from the wild.
  • The habitats for threatened lesser-known species in China are well understood and the integrity of it is secured.
  • The role of local or national government agencies and public in biodiversity conservation strengthened.


All fieldwork projects are one-year cycle, and projects are applied and selected every year. The activities designed in two modules include projects conduction and communication.

  • Support site-related conservation projects led to mitigate key threats to natural areas and species populations/habitat.
  • Build capacity of local environmental NGOs and young conservationists through projects implementation to strengthen the new force of wildlife conservation in China.
  • Submit projects achievements and reports to local, regional and national government agencies to facilitate to form more efficient conservation strategies.
  • Communicate projects achievements and knowledge gained with public to help to build a civil society with enabling environment to support effective wildlife conservation.

Up to now, totally 73 projects concerning 49 species had been sponsored in 22 provinces in China during past seven years. The projects that are supported have had remarkable success considering the modest investment involved. Support from the Fund led to the establishment and strengthening of more than 10 local environmental conservation NGOs. More than 10 conservation strategies proposed by the Fund have been adopted by government agencies, in which eight Nature Reserves were established or upgraded. In addition, three projects of the Fund won the award of the Fond Motor Conservation and Environmental Grants. And a wetland school, the first of its kind in China, was set up in Beijing by the Fund in September 2003.

The Fund has proven to be extremely popular, and more and more proposals are received every year. As a young Ph. D researcher says in his letter after a SGF workshop, "I can touch the faiths from WWF within only two days, and SGF is essential for China species conservations. … As for all conservationists nation wide, particularly for volunteers, SGF is the hope for them. …I hope that SGF could keep on its styles.” In 2007, the number of submitted proposals reached 140 in total and only 18 projects were sponsored according as our fund resource. We believe in the coming year, the number will be much higher. It’s obvious the Fund has been very successful to date, but its effectiveness is hampered by the size of past financial support. Therefore, the continuous and stronger supports are highly expected.

Further funding is needed to help save China's lesser-known species. For information on how to help support this project, contact Ms. Shi quanhua, WWF China Species Program Coordinator at qhshi@wwfchina.org.