Arcus Announces Fall 2013 Round of Great Apes Conservation Support

October 17, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (October, 17, 2013) — Seeking for the first time to establish legal personhood for a nonhuman animal in the United States is the goal of The Nonhuman Rights Project, one of eight organizations to receive funding in the third quarter round of support from the Arcus Foundation’s Great Apes Program.

The innovative project, which boldly seeks fundamental legal rights for some nonhuman animals, plans to conduct publicity and education to convey the complex cognitive abilities of animal plaintiffs, raise awareness of their exploitation, and shift public understanding of them from “things” to “persons.”

Two additional grants were awarded to increase respect for and recognition of the intrinsic value of great apes, including those to the Center for Great Apes and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, both of which aim to end exploitation of captive apes and ensure that they receive high-quality care in safe, accredited sanctuaries.

On a worldwide scale, a set of grants will support crucial efforts to reconcile conservation objectives with the socio-economic development needs of communities that share landscapes with great ape populations.

Land Empowerment Animals People, for example, will administer a move into the second phase of a Borneo-based project to influence political and business attitudes about the balance of land use and orangutan conservation through dissemination of the scientific information that the organization has gathered to support better forest and wildlife-management policies.

Reconciling socio-economic development and conservation objectives in Malaysian Borneo, as well as in Aceh, in the Indonesian province of Sumatra, is the goal of the Rainforest Action Network, a new grantee whose advocacy campaigns seek to inspire corporations to embrace deeper commitments to environmental justice. Arcus support will help the organization build the capacity of local groups and individuals to safely conduct investigations exposing the links between palm oil production and the destruction of natural forests and orangutan habitat.

To conserve orangutans in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, the Nature Conservancy is working to promote conservation measures through both the United Nations REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) program and through means by which heavily indebted developing countries can be relieved of debts in exchange for adopting environmentally friendly policies.

Reduction in hunting of Africa’s most endangered ape—the Cross-River gorilla—and of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee is the goal of Wildlife Conservation Society’s recently supported effort which involves strengthening trans-boundary collaboration between Nigeria and Cameroon.  The organization is fighting to save the 250 to 300 remaining Cross-River gorillas, which face illegal hunting and habitat loss due to logging and agricultural expansion.

In Western Tanzania’s Greater Mahale Ecosystem, the Nature Conservancy is continuing its work to strengthen conservation of priority chimpanzee populations and their habitat by increasing the capacity of community-based forest management programs.

About the Arcus Foundation

The Arcus Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation that supports organizations around the world working to advance equality across the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI) as well as conservation of the world’s great apes. Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the mission of the Arcus Foundation is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City, U.S. and Cambridge, U.K.