Arcus Foundation Announces Summer 2014 Conservation Grants

June 30, 2014
NEW YORK, NY (June 27, 2014) — Helping communities located in or near critical wildlife conservation areas to adopt sustainable livelihoods and promoting understanding of the relationship between global agriculture and great ape conservation are the goals of several of the six grants announced in the Arcus Foundation’s latest round of conservation funding. A first-time grant will help Integrated Conservation, a Washington-based organization, conduct the first international research in Wehea Forest and support community engagement among the indigenous Wehea Dayak people of Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia—a community that is fighting back to protect their forestland from agro-business. Amid significant economic and social pressures, the Wehea Dayak have declared 38,000 hectares of forest ”protected land” under traditional law and are beginning to develop a sustainable eco-tourism program built upon best practices in great ape tourism. Finding ways to balance global development with conservation is the aim of a Fauna and Flora International project to guide the creation and implementation of biodiversity offsets. Biodiversity offsets are the last option in a decision-making hierarchy intended to ensure that habitats and species can be protected despite industrial and agricultural development. The first options include avoiding harm, minimizing damage, restoring/rehabilitating damage done and finally offsetting damage. These offsets are instruments in which the potential adverse effects of industrial and agricultural development can be compensated for by conservation actions. The organization plans to study, document, and disseminate information on the use of these biodiversity offsets where they have been applied for conservation, to help guide future decisions about using the mitigation hierarchy. A consulting organization, Climate Advisers/Catapult, will also explore the effects of commodity agriculture expansion on the great ape population, to advise the conservation community and governments on ways to ensure that this rapid growth does not threaten Africa’s primate population. Building on its past work, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an organization that works to bridge conservation policy and practice, will continue to expand the great ape focus within its Poverty and Conservation Learning Group—chapters of which were established in 2009 in Uganda and Cameroon. A grant will help the IIED to produce and share evidence of the effects of agribusiness investments on ape conservation and increase awareness of the ways to remedy the negative impacts. Aims to safeguard bonobos in the Lomako Reserve of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African Wildlife Foundation will use a grant to seek improved wildlife management and law enforcement. This endeavor builds on the organization’s success in reduce poaching and other illegal activities in the reserve, which has resulted in an increase in the number of bonobos there. New funding will help the AWF improve the effectiveness of park guards and increase understanding of wildlife laws among communities. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, the world’s only alliance of wildlife sanctuaries and global conservation experts working to protect primates and their habitat in Africa, plans to use funding to improve the welfare of apes in its member sanctuaries through a training program for caregivers. It also will pursue an expanded development program to increase its reliance on a wider range of funders.