Wildlife Cashes In On Ecuador IOU

Two U.S. conservation groups have turned Ecuador’s foreign debt into a boon for that country’s wildlife areas and endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy have agreed to pay off $9 million of Ecuador’s debt at a rate of 11 7/8 cents on the dollar—an expenditure of little more than $1 million. In exchange for having the debt retired, the Ecuadoran government will give a private conservation group in the South American country—Fundacion Natura—bonds worth the face value of the debt. Among the projects to be financed by this agreement—Ecuador’s largest debt-for-nature swap ever—will be a conservation data center staffed by Ecuadoran scientists, including an ecologist, botanist, and zoologist. Bonds worth $3 million will be dedicated to conservation work in the Galapagos Islands, especially in strengthening its protected wildlife areas. Other funds raised from the bonds will bolster management of national...

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