Funding Ape Conservation with Social Justice in Mind
Conservation of endangered apes and their forest habitats cannot be achieved without careful consideration of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who also live in and depend on these landscapes. While much progress remains to be made, our partners supported by grants awarded during the third quarter of 2021 are working to increase community involvement in conservation decision-making while continuing to implement critical protection and monitoring efforts.
A grant to World Wildlife Fund will support the development of community involvement in great ape conservation in the forests of northern Republic of the Congo. Research, surveys, and inclusive decision-making processes aim to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are able to participate in and benefit from the sustainable management of natural resources in important gorilla and chimpanzee habitats in the Messok Dja forest and Ntokou-Pikounda National Park.
Two grantee organizations will prioritize community involvement in conservation in the Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba area of Democratic Republic of the Congo, a critical landscape for bonobos. Funding to Rainforest Foundation UK will support community participation in discussions and decision-making around Lomami National Park management to ensure people and bonobos can coexist in the Lomami landscape into the future. Frankfurt Zoological Society – U.S. will gather data on bonobos and work with local people to stop bonobo hunting, as part of its work to address threats to bonobos without compromising critical livelihood activities for local populations.
Fauna & Flora International received renewed support for its longtime work to protect chimpanzees in Sapo National Park in Liberia, a protected tropical rainforest that is home to about 1,000 critically endangered western chimpanzees. The grant will support monitoring of chimpanzee communities, a feasibility assessment of developing ecotourism to support ongoing forest protection, and continued community engagement around the importance of protecting chimpanzees.
Wildlife Conservation Society was awarded a renewal grant for its efforts to maintain and expand a growing population of gibbons in the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar, a protected area containing the largest remaining populations of several globally threatened species, including eastern and western hoolock gibbons. While the recent coup d’état in Myanmar prompted a suspension of legislative advocacy and collaboration with the forestry authorities, WCS will continue to monitor gibbon populations and engage local communities in forest and wildlife management.
A grant to Global Greengrants Fund will support local, grassroots community efforts to conserve forests and great apes in various landscapes in Africa and Asia, with a focus on women-, youth-, and Indigenous-led projects.
Also receiving grants this funding cycle were:
- Animal Protection of New Mexico to advocate for the retirement to sanctuary of chimpanzees formerly used in biomedical research.
- The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda for the project Culture for Chimps, which uses traditional knowledge and practices to strengthen chimpanzee conservation in Uganda.
- Friends of Chimps to increase the capacity for chimpanzee care and well-being at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda.
- Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries to support the 2021 Giving Day for Apes, which took place Oct. 12 and raised a record-breaking $962,829 for qualified ape sanctuaries and rescue centers.
- Hutan – Kinabatangan Orang-Utan Conservation Project to develop a safeguards approach to study and conserve orangutans in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
- International Institute for Environment and Development to develop a methodology that shows the impact of ape conservation on human well-being, community resilience, and attitudes toward great apes and gibbons.
- Kalaweit for care of rescued and displaced gibbons at sanctuaries in Sumatra and Borneo.
- Project Primate to improve organizational and management infrastructure at Chimpanzee Conservation Center in Guinea.
- Wanicare for the care of gibbons and orangutans at Cikananga Wildlife Center in West Java, Indonesia.
- Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari – Orangutan Information Centre to implement best practice guidelines at a new gibbon rehabilitation center in North Sumatra.