Great Ape Conservationists in Key Areas Address Threats to Apes and Their Habitats

December 18, 2017

The grants awarded by Arcus as part of the winter cycle of funding address the ways in which conservation practitioners are concentrating on various threats to great apes. They are focusing not only on the threats, but also the drivers of those threats, and how they destroy habitats or populations of apes. From campaigning against logging and the use of timber that comes from ape habitats, to the work to prevent unsustainable urban consumption of wildmeat, organizations are protecting apes from a variety of existential threats.

Several of the grantees in this funding cycle are working to prevent deforestation and destruction of ape habitats. Greenpeace is supporting zero deforestation policies in Indonesia by addressing the lack of transparency in many timber companies as well as the inadequate regulation in relation to peatland protections.

Meanwhile, the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program is working with local communities to safeguard forests and apes in the long-term, supporting the sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products, and thereby aiding economic development in rural communities. Global Witness is curbing the trade in illegal timber extraction from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and strengthening frameworks to reduce the importation of illegal timber into the European Union, China, and the United States.

Other grant recipients provide support to chimpanzees in sanctuaries and safe havens. The Center for Great Apes is constructing a new outdoor grassy habitat for a large group of chimpanzees to complement its newest chimpanzee night house. Due to policy advancements for chimpanzees in 2015, it recognized an opportunity to provide sanctuary for many of the chimpanzees exiting private laboratories and the entertainment industry.

Chimp Haven is constructing new sanctuary facilities to accommodate approximately 100 additional federally owned chimpanzees over the next three years.  Meanwhile, Lola Ya Bonobo, the only bonobo sanctuary, and based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will use its grant for  long-term institutional support to bonobo conservation and well-being. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries will advance its new certification program, improving captive care in sanctuaries and rescue centers across Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is focusing on its Wildmeat Consumption Reduction Project, which aims to change behavior and reduce urban consumption of wildmeat in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo. The International Institute for Environment and Development has received two grants this funding cycle. One will support work to integrate efforts to alleviate poverty with conservation in three ape range states, thereby increasing protection for those habitats;  the other will integrate conservation issues as well as local community needs, into the national land law reform through a national policy dialogue in Cameroon.

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is also receiving a grant in this cycle to help build the capacity of local sanctuary staff in monitoring chimpanzee behavior in captivity.