Résumé of Institutional Curriculum

The Zoological Foundation of El Salvador (FUNZEL) is an active non-profit, non-governmental research and wildlife conservation-oriented organization established in 1989, acquiring legal status in 1992. Mission: Contribute to the conservation of wild fauna through local development solutions. Vision: Continue to be the leading organization focused on the management of confiscated endangered species in compliance to international and national legislation and foster sea turtle conservation throughout El Salvador.

FUNZEL works jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and CITES Management Authority, the National Police and Costumes, and has a healthy mix match of professional staff, volunteers and committed members including biologists, veterinarians, program managers, financial specialists and fund raisers.

FUNZEL’s work focuses on the management of a wild fauna rescue center and sea turtle conservation program. Its work is implemented through private-public alliances and grounded by local empowerment. Through it history, FUNZEL has managed a great variety of wild fauna conservation activities, ranging from small, highly localized $5,000-dollar grants to nation-wide grants of up to $1.5 million dollars from USAID in the past.

Main contributions:

1989 at present: Initiates the establishment of a Rescue and Rehabilitation Center for confiscated Australian endangered species after El Salvador ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1986. Since then, FUNZEL has operated in different geographic areas providing support to the different agencies of the Government of El Salvador and to private parties who find injured wild animals. FUNZEL has invested over $2,000,000 in the construction and management of rescue centers in Santa Tecla, Soyapango, Santa Rosa de Lima, San Rafael Cedro, Zapotitan, San Salvador. Funding: Debt for Nature Swap – Fondo para las Iniciativas de las Americas FIAES, Fondo Nacional Ambiental de El Salvador FONAES, and private sector. In 2009 shifted its work to the coastal marine ecosystems and focus it on the four endangered marine turtles which nest in El Salvador beaches, joining actions with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

1990-1992: Supports the National Zoological Park in upgrading their quarantine and establishing an environmental education program through a visitor’s inter-active guide. Funding: Private sector.

1993-1994: Successfully lobbied for the first Wildlife Conservation Law for El Salvador. This law has been critical to combat illegal trade in the country as well as to establish a ban on sea turtle trade and consumption. Funding: World Society for the Protection of Animals – WSPA.

1994: Initiates an environmental education program in schools and universities. Funding: Private sector.

1998 – 2001: built and operate the first Rescue Center for Endangered Species at National Level in a joint effort and supported by the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service. (This infrastructure and investment was dramatically affected by the two 2001 earthquakes).

2004: Initiates a registry of endangered wild fauna kept as pets in the San Salvador, including the use of passive integrated transponders (PIT) tags to identify individuals as a measure to control the numbers of endangered species kept in captivity.

2004 – 2007: Implements a CAFTA DR effort to ensure the enforcement and compliance of CITES in El Salvador. Funding: Humane Society.

2007: Leads a nation-wide study to identify all nesting beaches in El Salvador (105 beaches, 300 km of coastline) and documents the existence of the critically endangered Eastern Pacific Hawksbill turtle, considered extinct by some. This lead to the establishment of an international effort to conserve this species. Funding; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation –NFWF.

2008 – Present: Develops sea turtle research and conservation efforts throughout the country with the participation of local communities. Fundings from NFWF, NOAA, USFWS, USAID has supported these efforts in the past. Protection and released near more than 4 million hatchlings. Programs focus on a) sea turtle egg hatchery management, b) financial mechanisms for sustainability, c) local development, d) public awareness, and f) research. Supports 32 coastal communities a helped more than 1000 families become sea turtle conservationists.

2009: Successfully participates in lobbying for the national ban on sea turtle trade and egg consumption, which is a cultural practice. Actually in October 2017, more than 5 million siblings released.

2010 – Present: Building alliances with the private sector to continue managing the wild fauna rescue center and sea turtle hatcheries in El Salvador. Funding source: Private sector, Banks, and other particular allies, with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, MARN and the Initiative for The Americas Fund known as FIAES through projects proposal´s.