Grants awarded in Arcus’ fall funding cycle will support conservation and ape sanctuary organizations to work together to safeguard great apes and gibbons living in their natural habitats. A significant three-year grant to the Pan Eco Foundation will enable an alliance of organizations to collaborate on protecting the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, one of the most important contiguous forest blocks left in Southeast Asia and home to around 85 percent of all remaining wild Sumatran orangutans and important populations of siamang and gibbons.
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Much of the work by Arcus’ latest Great Apes & Gibbons grantees focuses on conserving the landscapes where apes—and their human neighbors—live. The Rainforest Action Network’s Leuser Ecosystem Campaign is working to protect the ecological integrity of the Indonesian landscape—both for the local wildlife and people—by building on progress around slowing land conversion for palm oil crop harvests and developing an action planning process for the next five years.
As soon as the existence of a new Indonesian orangutan species was confirmed by scientists in 2017, it became clear that all 800 individuals are in immediate and long-term danger from a major project to build the island of Sumatra’s largest hydroelectric dam. The dam builder, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy, backed in part by the Bank of China, is moving quickly to clear significant areas within the pristine forest home of the newly discovered so-called Tapanuli orangutan.
2016 Arcus Report Highlights Courageous Activists Taking Steps to Ensure Social and Environmental Justice
The year 2016 brought major geopolitical shifts and new challenges for those with a stake in Arcus’ mission. There’s no question that Arcus’ work has grown harder since our last annual report, but our commitment to the work has never been stronger.
Conservation groups in Indonesia’s Aceh province have appealed a November 2016 ruling by a court in the country’s capital, which dismissed a case seeking to ensure the protected status of one of the world’s most fragile and biodiverse environments, home to the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). The case, brought to the Central Jakarta District Court by a group of nine citizens, had sought to force the Aceh government to safeguard the 8,500-square-mile Leuser Ecosystem within a land-use plan intended to bring economic growth to the province, situated on the country’s largest island, Sumatra.