Funding Conservation in All Its Complexity
The latest round of Great Apes & Gibbons Program grants funds multifaceted efforts to further knowledge and understanding, strengthen conservation networks as well as progressive sanctuaries, and employ best practices in protecting habitats and conserving endangered species.
Traditional stewardship and community coexistence
Local people are often the best protectors of nature if they are supported to remain on and manage their lands. A grant to Forest Peoples Programme will fund efforts to reinforce forest stewardship by the indigenous Ba’Aka, a group whose lives and lifeways have been deeply connected to the rainforests of the Congo Basin for thousands of years and whose human rights have been violated by more powerful groups, including some with forest and wildlife conservation interests. The project will explore community-led conservation in Cameroon’s Lobéké National Park, an important chimpanzee and gorilla habitat.
Forest Peoples Programme also received a grant to continue a project focusing on customary land tenure and chimpanzee conservation in Liberia.
The International Institute for Environment and Development received funding to help reconcile conservation and development in Cameroon, working in partnership with the Cameroon-based Centre for Environment and Development. The project will support land concessions and conservation of biodiversity in landscapes including the Dja Reserve, home to western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees threatened by hunting and deforestation.
Strengthening conservation networks
Re:wild (recently renamed from Global Wildlife Conservation) will use its grant to support the Section on Great Apes of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) Primate Specialist Group to build a stronger conservation movement through enhanced collaboration among the world’s leading great ape specialists. Among other activities, the body will review its membership to ensure new positions are filled with primatologists and other experts from ape range states, as well as design and launch the next phase of State of the Apes, the publication series examining threats to nonhuman apes and opportunities to reconcile development and conservation. Funding will also support the core work of the Section on Great Apes: convening research and conservation experts for information exchange, and to establish shared guidelines and action plans to most effectively protect great apes around the world.
Fauna & Flora International will use funding to continue work with People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF) and other partners in Vietnam and China to implement an updated conservation plan for critically endangered Cao-vit gibbons, thought to be extinct until rediscovered by FFI scientists in 2002. Activities include community-based forest patrols and gibbon monitoring, conservation education programs in local schools, annual gibbon festivals and other awareness-raising campaigns, habitat enrichment, protected area expansion, and much more.
A grant to the Lester E. Fisher Center at the Lincoln Park Zoo will be used to further develop a program to assess the welfare of chimpanzees living in progressive zoos and sanctuaries, and identify ways to improve captive standards and welfare, build networks across facilities caring for chimpanzees, and strengthen the sanctuary sector, which has grown considerably across the United States and Africa as a result of policy and enforcement advancements.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue received funding to provide sanctuary for chimpanzee orphans in Cameroon while protecting habitats and educating people about the importance of conservation. The support will be used to strengthen the local management team and the sanctuary’s development functions, as well as the care received by the residents.