Influencing Corporations and Finance, Engaging Communities to Protect Wildlife

January 20, 2021

Nonhuman apes are under threat everywhere they live. As people around the world consume more and more products relying on resources that come out of their tropical forest homes, bonobos, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans are increasingly vulnerable to habitat degradation and destruction.

The latest grants in Arcus’ Great Apes & Gibbons Program support efforts to protect forest habitats through both local and international strategies to reconcile economic development with conservation. For apes who have survived forest destruction and hunting, Arcus supports sanctuaries that offer residents a chance to live with dignity in the most natural settings possible.      

Conservation in the face of development
By raising awareness about the harmful impacts of proposed development projects on wildlife, the environment, and local communities, Arcus partners hope to change the corporate behaviors that lead to forest destruction.

Friends of the Earth received support for a campaign to encourage banks and investors to adopt “No-Go Zone” policies, whereby they would not finance large-scale harmful projects in areas of social and environmental significance, such as sensitive ecosystems and ape habitats.

The International Rivers Network received a grant for its work to influence the hydropower and finance industries to mitigate the threats to ape habitats and biodiversity posed by a global boom of dam construction. A second grant to the International Rivers Network will support a project to raise awareness about the potentially harmful impacts of the proposed Koukoutamba Dam on western chimpanzees in Guinea.

Global Witness and Greenpeace Fund will both work to protect the critical ape habitats of the Congo Basin by collaborating with local organizations and communities to highlight and push back against development projects that would destroy forests.

Conservation through local partnerships
Global Wildlife Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, and African Wildlife Foundation received support to improve conservation through collaboration with local partners in threatened habitats.

Global Wildlife Conservation will continue its science-based field action to improve research and best practices for global gibbon conservation in partnership with local organizations and communities through the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Section on Small Apes. Global Wildlife Conservation also received a grant for FORINA, a consortium of researchers and advocates working on orangutan conservation in Indonesia.

The Nature Conservancy received two grants to protect and conserve orangutan and gibbon habitats in the forests of East Kalimantan, Indonesia; and to expand protection of chimpanzee habitat in western Tanzania.

African Wildlife Foundation will develop a strategy for long-term conservation of intact primary forest in the Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve in Democratic Republic of the Congo, an important bonobo habitat.

Mitigating infectious disease spread and supporting sanctuary
Emerging infectious diseases are a significant threat to apes. A grant to the Smithsonian Institution will support disease risk modeling to assess strategies to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases among endangered mountain gorillas.

Friends of Bonobos will use funds to increase the sustainability of Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only bonobo sanctuary, by investing in high standards of care, strengthening relationships with local agencies and authorities, and improving financial management.

Grants were also awarded to:

  • Fairventures Worldwide to secure an important forest corridor in Kalimantan, Indonesia, home to agile gibbons and orangutans.
  • Fauna & Flora International for Cao Vit gibbon conservation in Vietnam.
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy to strengthen governance of the conservancy and support operations of its Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya.
  • Preventable Surprises for a series of online dialogues aimed at raising awareness about biodiversity, species extinction, and habitat loss within financial institutions.
  • Village Enterprise to bridge the gap between communities’ economic needs and bonobo conservation in the Lomako region of Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) North Sumatra to build community support and inform policy to protect biodiversity in important gibbon and orangutan habitats.
  • Wild Chimpanzee Foundation for fire management in Guinea’s Moyen-Bafing National Park, home to approximately 4,000 western chimpanzees.
  • Friends of Chimps*, also known as Friends of Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT), for chimpanzee care at Ngamba Island Sanctuary in Uganda.
  • Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries* for Giving Day for Apes 2020, which raised $870,693 for 37 sanctuaries and rescue centers throughout Africa, Asia, and North America.
  • Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary* to provide consistent care throughout the pandemic to chimpanzees at a refuge primarily for chimpanzees orphaned by poaching.
  • PanEco* to ensure high standards of care for orangutans during the pandemic at the organization’s rescue and rehabilitation center in Sumatra. 

*Included in this announcement are grants approved in September 2020 that were not listed in the third quarter grant announcement.

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