Protecting New Zealand's rarest of the rare.

Our Purpose to Protect

    I applaud the attention that [the Endangered Species Foundation] give to all species - not just the large charismatic birds and mammals, but also the less well known species of invertebrates, fungi, lichens, lizards, plants, amphibians, and even seaweeds. I wish them, and the species they support, all the success they deserve in this innovative project.”

- Dame Jane Goodall

The Endangered Species Foundation is a registered charitable organisation supporting high-priority conservation projects that protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable indigenous species and habitats from extinction. We aim to save the 'Rarest of the Rare'.

New Zealand is famous for its uniqueness and we have a long history of working to protect our natural heritage. But even though considerable effort is being made, it is not enough.

  • Today over 7,500 of our most unique species are in danger of being lost
  • Of these, 800 are listed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) as being at a high risk of extinction
  • Just 25% of these high risk species are currently able to be actively managed by the DOC.

The Endangered Species Foundation provides the sustainable, long term support needed by our conservation experts to carry out their work at the frontline. We provide a way for all New Zealanders to get involved and to make a lasting contribution.

What makes us unique:

  • Unconditional support - Our support is focused on where the need is most urgent, rather than on what has the most public appeal
  • Sustainable funding - Our funding is based on a central Endowment Fund which ensures sustainable support to projects and on-going returns for investor input
  • Results oriented - Our funds work at the conservation coalface. We fund projects which make the greatest difference and which can be sustained into the future
  • Professionally managed - We are a professional organisation, supported by acknowledged experts in their fields
  • Independent - As an independent organisation, projects we fund are not susceptible to a shift in support, we are in it for the long-term

Genesis of the Endangered Species Foundation

The concept of the Endangered Species Foundation of New Zealand was originally conceived 25 years ago when Mike Thorsen and his father Neil Thorsen were discussing how a shortage of funds hampered the conservation of endangered species. Mike went on to work on many endangered species projects around the world, and in 2013 they established the Endangered Species Foundation.

"Our unique native species and precious wild places are taonga that we protect today to hand onto our children and grandchildren... By supporting ESFNZ, you can help play your part in conserving our nature for future New Zealanders and protecting what makes our country truly special."

Lou Sanson, Director General, Department of Conservation

Foundation Facts

  • Over
    endangered species
  • Just
    of our most critically endangered Māui Dolphins remain
  • Only
    species are currently in
    conservation programmes