A group of Chinese philanthropists has announced plans to raise up to $15 million for efforts to preserve and protect nature worldwide, including the creation of a sanctuary in Africa for the hirola, China Daily reports.
Through the newly established China Global Conservation Fund, the group awarded $500,000 to the Nature Conservancy to build a 6,177-acre sanctuary in Kenya for the endangered African antelope, whose numbers have fallen from a total of sixteen thousand in the 1970s to four hundred today. The grant also will be used to help cover the costs of transferring the animals to the sanctuary and the sanctuary's annual budget of about $1 million. Scheduled to be completed in May, the sanctuary will help protect the animals from poaching, drought, and disease, all of which have contributed to a decline in the hirola's numbers.
Members of the group include Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and a number of other wealthy business leaders in China who have requested anonymity. According to Ma, tremendous growth in the Chinese economy "has created an opportunity and also a responsibility for the Chinese people to play a leading role in helping address the world's environmental problems. It is also clear that [the Nature Conservancy] is the right partner to help China play that role by channeling its wealth toward international conservation projects that are aiming at helping communities find global solutions to global challenges."