On the Ground and in the Media, Summer 2015 Grantees Document Threats to Great Ape Habitat

June 23, 2015
Advancing scientific research regarding the severe challenges facing great ape populations, both in natural surroundings and in captivity, is the aim of several grants in the Arcus Foundation’s summer 2015 Great Apes Program portfolio.

Two zoological societies have conducted essential research into the threats to great ape habitat that are posed by the timber and extractive industries. Now, a grant to the Zoological Society of London will help this conservation organization pursue wildlife-protection systems for more than one million hectares of commercial forest land in Cameroon. The organization will build on its prior work developing partnerships with both the timber and palm oil industries, to ensure that agricultural development in Africa is compatible with ape conservation. With its current grant, the group plans to work with industry to implement the Wildlife Wood Project, a model it developed to help logging companies ensure that their logging practices are consistent with sustainable wildlife. It will also engage in conservation efforts with the communities who live near critical ape habitat and establish partnerships with forestry schools.

The Chicago-based Lincoln Park Zoological Society received a grant to conduct research into the effect of logging on chimpanzees and gorillas in the Goualougo Triangle in the Republic of Congo as timber harvesting begins in the last remaining pristine forests adjacent to the Nouabale Ndoki National Park. The zoo will also extend its ape-health-monitoring program to new sites in northern Congo and build the proficiency of local research staff who are responsible for data collection and anti-poaching monitoring at ape research and tourism sites.

The organization MGVP plans to use funding to provide life-saving health care to mountain gorillas in Volcanoes, Bwindi Impenetrable, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks in Uganda and Rwanda. The group, which has conducted extensive training of Congolese and Rwandan workers to track and monitor gorillas, will now strengthen its engagement with authorities in the protected areas so that they can assume greater responsibility for the care and management of gorillas.

In Southeast Asia, care for orphaned apes is the focus of a grant to the International Primate Protection League, which supports reputable primate sanctuaries and ape-rescue organizations. The league works to ensure that sanctuaries in range states are sustainable for the long term and can provide high-quality care to those animals who have been rescued or confiscated in their home countries.

To raise awareness on a mass scale, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received support for a major advertising campaign to end the use of great apes in advertising and entertainment. The group will enlist top U.S. advertising agencies to pledge not to use apes in ads and will seek similar commitments from film companies. Funding for Thinking Animals, Inc., will support a three-day conference in 2016 to bring together experts in the conservation and humane treatment of animals with religious , business, educational, and cultural leaders.

Additional grants were provided to the Mongabay.org Corporation and the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.