Created in 1989 by the “Papiliorama Swiss Tropical Gardens” of Kerzers, Switzerland, the International Tropical Conservation Foundation (ITCF) is a small non-profit organization having practical conservation of tropical nature in the field as its objective. ITCF-Netherlands was subsequently established in 1990, and based since its inception at Burger's Zoo in Arnhem.
While ITCF-Netherlands is obtaining large grants for special projects on infrastructure and land acquisition, ITCF-Switzerland fundraises to cover expenditure for management and protection. The Papiliorama Foundation supports ITCF by providing administrative support in its fundraising efforts. Consequently, all funds collected are being channelled to Shipstern Nature Reserve in Belize without deduction of overheads.
For the past 17 years, Shipstern Nature Reserve has been the main focus of ITCF, and its largest project. Apart from funding concrete conservation in the field, ITCF, with the financial help of the European Union, has been instrumental in the creation of the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve (1996), while Small Embassy Projects helped with the establishment of the first tourism infrastructure in the neighbouring village of Sarteneja, and Belize's first park dedicated to the endangered Mahogany Tree.