Environmental policy specialist Samuel Marwood was helping to write the threatened species strategy for the Victorian Government two years ago when he
ran into a problem: funding.
Samuel knew straight away that he was not the only person being kept awake at night by the challenge of securing ongoing financial support for a threatened species program. The hearts and minds behind some of the greatest human defenders of such species are consumed by where they’ll find their next stage of funding.
On the other side of the equation, Samuel also knew there were great people in the community who wanted to support threatened species – but who didn’t have any money, either. Not very much, anyway.
The answer? Samuel put on his thinking cap and innovated. The result, Edge Pledge, brings those people to the problem and delivers a solution by creating new and fun opportunities to raise money for a cause or threatened species they care about.
And perhaps the most distinctive thing about Edge Pledge is its “challenge generator” – a website that asks each user to answer a few questions to determine their personality type, then uses this information to suggest a selection of appropriate challenges. Friends and colleagues “vote” on which challenge they favour; the challenge that gains the most in donations “wins” and can shortly begin.
Edge Pledge is no ordinary fundraising platform. It is already disrupting crowdfunding principles that are themselves not long on the market and, incredibly, Edge Pledge has raised more than $30,000 in the past six weeks.
Samuel has got it this far, but now he is calling out to the TSR Hub to help it go further, “whether it is sharing it on Facebook, making a donation or creating your own pledge, we need everyone to help out where they can”.
You can find out more about Edge Pledge through Facebook or Twitter, from the website edgepledge.com, or from entertainers Rove McManus and Claire Hooper, who have dressed up in costume to tell us what it feels like to be a threatened species.
You might even find that Edge Pledge disrupts your own status quo for a while…
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is receiving an additional $2 million to deliver research and scientific advice to help support wildlife and habitat recovery efforts following Australia’s bushfire crisis. The rapid rollout of meetings and expert workshops that were planned as part of this response now faces the added and acute challenge of COVID-19.
Predation by cats is a key threat to at least 123 threatened species in Australia. Better understanding and reducing the impact of feral cats on susceptible wildlife has been a major area of research for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Hub Deputy Directors Professors Sarah Legge and John Woinarski take a look at our research to address Australia’s cat problem.
The 2019–20 bushfires have been extensive and – in some areas – of very high severity. Many threatened species have had most of their distributions burnt, and fire is likely to have imperilled many species not previously considered threatened. One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats.
Australia has many unique small- to medium-sized mammals, which are vulnerable to predation by cats and foxes, two carnivores introduced to the continent with European arrival. For many of these species, effective conservation means heavy or total suppression of cats and/or foxes.
Oliver Tester from the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner tells us about the Australian Government’s action on feral cats.