The Colombian island of Malpelo and its surrounding waters are an ecological jewel in the eastern tropical Pacific. The area is home to 10 species found only on the island or in its waters, and nearly 400 coralline and pelagic fish species have been recorded.
In 2008, GCF approved a contribution of up to $2.5 million to Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez for an endowment to conserve the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, which includes the small island and its abundant waters. Fondo Acción will match the amount, making the total endowment up to $5 million. Proceeds from the endowment will cover operating expenses of an alliance of public and private entities that are charged with protecting the island and its marine ecosystem.
GCF also supported early efforts to expand the Maleplo Sanctuary and ensure its designation as a World Heritage Site, a designation won from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2006. This 857,500-hectare sanctuary is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, a 211-million hectare marine biological corridor spanning Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.
Great numbers of marine mammals and sea turtles can be found around Malpelo, and large marine predators gather near the island in remarkable numbers, including hammerhead, silky and whale sharks, tuna, giant groupers and the rare ragged-tooth shark. The island is also a crucial stopover and nesting site for close to 60 species of birds, and it boasts the largest colony of masked boobies in the world, at more than 40,000 individuals.