By staff
Cape Town – According to the conservation fundraising company, WildlifeWins.com, the world spends more on fancy underwear than it does on protecting species such as tigers, pandas and mountain gorillas from extinction. It also spends more eating at McDonalds and going to the movies.

Says Steve Quantrill, CEO of WildlifeWins, “I think most people would be surprised to know that global conservation spend totals US$4 to US$6 billion annually. By contrast, in 2000, Intimate Brands, the umbrella company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, reported gross earnings of US$5.1 billion, McDonalds earned US$14.2 billion and US$18 billion was spent going to the movies.

“While I don’t think everyday people really care more about underwear and fast food than they do about the health of the planet, the numbers seem to suggest a need to change the way funds are being raised for conservation. Most of us are legitimately frightened by the reports coming out about the damage being done to the planet - the challenge is to find a way to translate that fear into action. With an estimated 25 percent of mammal species expected to disappear in the next 20 years, we can only hope that individuals and governments find a way to start making a concerted difference sooner rather than later.”

On a governmental level, Quantrill hopes that such changes will start becoming a reality at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development taking place in South Africa at the end of August. To encourage individuals to get involved, his company is offering a forum to voice opinions and a lottery with the world’s highest insurance-guaranteed jackpot - $US20 million. A significant portion of all monies spent is directed to conservation projects selected by the players.

Concludes Quantrill, “By making it fun to contribute, we have been able to raise almost $25,000 for priority conservation projects over the last eight months. This money would obviously buy a lot of underwear but we think it is perhaps better used saving some of our planet’s favourite animal species from extinction.”

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About WildlifeWins.com

Launched in September 2001, WildlifeWins takes conservation fundraising into the commercial arena for the benefit of endangered species around the world. To accomplish this, it applies strategies ranging from Web cams and attention grabbing stunts to high-paying lotteries and contests to help the pubic-at-large feel connected and excited about getting involved. The ultimate goal is to transform the traditionally heavy issue of conservation into something mainstream, stylish and potentially very rewarding for everyday people. Projects supported by WildlifeWins are chosen by a panel that includes representatives from the world’s leading conservation organisations including the UK’s venerated Fauna & Flora International.

For more information contact:

Michelle Ross/ WildlifeWins: michelle@wildlifewins.com mobile: +27 (0) 83 679 8939

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