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Minifund

protect & preserve ecosystems

minifund

Announcing Minifund! A new wildlife conservation organization focused on preserving vulnerable ecosystems.

Our approach is to partner with conservation researchers and biologists in long-term camera surveillance programs, providing equipment and financial support in return for film and images gathered in the field. We distribute this content freely in order to connect new audiences with the beauty and mystery of super remote wilderness.

Lifelong fascination with the natural world and a growing network of conservationists and scientists motivated us to organize and invest in initiatives like the ones we describe below. Backers of our projects appreciate that we are powered by volunteerism and can directly observe their impact by following along on our social channels.

We are delighted to be able to share our progress with you!

Sincerely,

Carly & Casey

Sri Lankan Leopard Survey

Sri Lankan leopard catching her breath after a frolic in the trees.

Our first major camera trapping program kicked off in Yala National Park! Minifund is working in conjunction with local field partner Yala Leopard Diary and the Department of Wildlife Conservation to survey the leopard population in this famed sanctuary. High-resolution photos and videos are used to identify individuals and understand behavioral patterns in order to better inform local conservation efforts.

In a short time our cameras have recorded an encouraging sample of Sri Lanka’s incredible biodiversity, including elephants, crested porcupines, pangolin, golden jackals, sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boars and more.

Fewer than one thousand of these endangered big cats still roam the island nation where they face continued pressure from habitat destruction as a result of human development. Our support of scientific data collection initiatives equips researchers with the information they need to advance conservation efforts for this incredible ecosystem.

Unlike other populations, Sri Lankan leopards exhibit unique behavior as top predators.

Above: Unlike other populations, Sri Lankan leopards exhibit unique behavior as top predators.

Crested porcupines showing off their reproductive technique for the camera.

Above: Crested porcupines showing off their reproductive technique for the camera.

Much to our surprise, one of our camera sites also captured a leopard ambushing several massive wild boars. Here’s the incredible series:

Native wild boars are frequent prey for Sri Lankan leopards.

Above: Native wild boars are frequent prey for Sri Lankan leopards.

A missed opportunity for a meal, but a chance to observe incredible nocturnal action.

Above: A missed opportunity for a meal, but a chance to observe incredible nocturnal action.

Ten field cameras we sent to our Sri Lankan partners..

Above: This year we sent equipment kits for ten field cameras at a cost of around $4200.

A wild Sri Lankan leopard poses for a portrait.

Ecuadorian Amazon

In partnership with our friends at Tropical Herping we began scouting for productive camera locations in the Amazon rainforest this year. Our next goal is to develop the ability to record candid cinematic footage in this demanding environment. Ultimately we want to reach Ecuador’s even more remote and challenging Chocó region to support local conservation initiatives there.

Jaguar in the jungle.

Above: Large male jaguar patrolling his territory.

Capuchin monkey with durian fruit.

Above: Capuchin monkey wrestles a durian fruit into the canopy.

Ocelot in the jungle.

Above: An ocelot demonstrates his camouflage.

Videos published on our YouTube page — daytime & nocturnal recordings captured jaguars, ocelots, pumas, capuchin monkeys, weasels, tapir, wild pigs, and a variety of birds.

Patagonia Pumas

Adorable wild puma cub.

Minifund’s video of an adorable wild puma cub caught the attention of Reddit, reaching the site’s front page with over ninety thousand upvotes and several million views. Favorite reactions to the clip include “I wanna pet but I don’t wanna die” and “isn't this from our planet?” We consider this a huge success! Cinematic 4k footage is published on our YouTube page — furry footage to fill your screen!

It is always heartening to watch people becoming more engaged and inspired by nature. Yet it is imperative that everyone has the opportunity to recognize the fragility of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth. By reaching wider audiences and further developing public interest in the natural world, we believe we can inspire another generation to embrace and preserve it. In our own experience, this process actually begins with really cute cat videos.

Unlike traditional for-profit media companies, Minifund freely distributes photo and video content with nothing expected in return. By allowing content we create to circulate without restriction, we can connect many millions of new people to the beauty and mystery of our world.

Mini Studio

Minifund continues to improve and refine our ability to record candid animal behavior. Our recent efforts focus on overcoming the technical challenge of recording animals at night. Nocturnal animals are more cautious during daytime; they display much more interesting behavior in the darkness. Infrared cameras are one solution, but many things are lost in the process: color, detail, and expression. Ultimately this diminishes the impact of the content.

Super sneaky mountain lion.

Day: Super sneaky mountain lion (we serviced this camera six minutes earlier) — full video

Boisterous bobcat family.

Night: Boisterous bobcat family — full video

Bobkitten cuteness factor is (at least) doubled by natural light.

Above: Bobkitten cuteness factor is (at least) doubled by natural light.

Sample footage from our experimental nocturnal camera, enhanced in post.

Above: Sample footage from our experimental nocturnal camera, enhanced in post.

Our strategy is to minimize subject illumination, underexposing the scene in the process. We artificially adjust the brightness in post production to compensate. The approach is encouraging, but still needs refinement; sudden brightness causes animals with sensitive eyesight to squint and modifies their normal behavior. Fortunately low-light camera technology has improved substantially in recent years, and we have new options to consider. With more experimentation we believe we can find the right balance and share totally new wildlife perspectives. Exciting!

Thank you.

We are grateful for your attention and support. Our organization is run by volunteers and maintains super low operating costs, which we cover ourselves. Every dollar of your tax-deductible contribution is used directly on initiatives just like these.

Minifund’s simple strategy:

  1. Partner with accomplished conservationists & researchers

  2. Produce compelling content & study ecosystems together

  3. Reach new audiences with charismatic wildlife imagery

  4. Fund projects by attracting small donations

Donate with PayPal

Access our corporate matching program on Benevity: 843537642

Minifund is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 84-3537642) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Researchers: Minifund is currently accepting grant proposals for your wildlife surveillance initiatives — please get in touch: grants@minifund.org

Our size comparison of a California mountain lion and mule deer buck went viral this year, garnering millions of views and sparking much conversation.

Above: Our size comparison of a California mountain lion and mule deer buck went viral this year, garnering millions of views and sparking much conversation. Our favorite reaction: “Looks like an old cougar leading a young buck home.”

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