Great Apes & Gibbons Partners Align Conservation with Social Justice

July 2, 2020

Conservation without social justice is neither ethical nor possible. To achieve conservation and respect for the world’s great and small apes, conservationists must work with the people who live alongside them, respecting and supporting the priorities of indigenous communities. The latest grants in Arcus’ Great Apes & Gibbons Program support conservation efforts that center the involvement of local people in protecting wildlife and habitats.

A two-year grant to the Forest Peoples Programme will bolster traditional, sustainable stewardship of the Messok Dja ecosystem in Republic of the Congo by indigenous communities, knowing that local people can be the best protectors of nature if they are supported to stay on and manage their traditional lands. Messok Dja is home to a significant population of chimpanzees and gorillas.

Fauna & Flora International will partner with people living around Liberia’s Sapo National Park on forest monitoring and reduction of human-wildlife conflict. Sapo is the largest contiguous block of tropical rainforest in the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem, one of the most biologically rich and endangered ecoregions in the world and home to about 1,000 western chimpanzees.

Fern received support to advocate for EU regulations on cocoa production. The industry has a history of destroying forests and needs to be regulated to protect ape habitats in West and Central Africa and to protect the human rights of local people.

Also receiving support this quarter are:

  • Friends of Bonobos to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the residents of Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only bonobo sanctuary, in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Wanicare to facilitate care of rescued Javan gibbons at Cikananga Wildlife Center in Indonesia
  • Lincoln Park Zoological Society for developing a management and welfare assessment program for chimpanzee sanctuaries

To learn about all Arcus grants awarded since 2007, please explore this page.