The World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., has announced a $20 million gift from energy magnate Roger W. Sant and his wife, Victoria, to support the creation of a conservation area in the Brazilian tropical forest, the Washington Post reports.
The Sants' gift, in the form of a charitable remainder trust, will be used to help permanently protect 125 million acres — an area roughly the size of California — in one of the planet's most biologically diverse regions.
Working with the Brazilian government, the World Bank, and others, the World Wildlife Fund launched the Amazon Region Protected Area initiative four years ago with the goal of establishing 70 million acres of strictly protected conservation areas, transforming 31 million acres of neglected parkland into better-managed conservation zones, and setting aside 22 million acres of sustainable-use reserves to benefit local communities.
Sant, the founder and former board chair of AES Corp., called the new effort the "the biggest conservation idea" in history. "I just got intrigued that if we could pull this off, it would set the stage for a lot of other conservation efforts we need to make," he added.