Latest Round of Conservation Grants Support Partnerships in Ape Landscapes

October 3, 2014

NEW YORK, NY (Sept. 23, 2014)— The strong partnership between the Orangutan Foundation and its Indonesian partner Yayorin exemplifies the types of collaborations within ape landscapes that are the focus of the newest round of 10 Arcus grants in the Great Apes Program, six of which take place in Asia. Nurturing such partnerships—which bring together local and international organizations with communities and governments—is increasingly seen as the best way to effect lasting change.

The Indonesian partnership plans to use grant funding to deepen their collaboration with a new government body charged with managing the Belantikan forests in Central Kalminatan, resulting in the adoption of a conservation plan for one of the largest orangutan populations in a non-protected area. The organizations are also working with local communities to ensure their support for ape conservation.

Three grants in Arcus’ current portfolio target the southern Asia–dwelling gibbons, most species of which are endangered or critically endangered. Conserving the world’s rarest ape, the Hainan gibbon, in China’s Bawangling National Nature Reserve, whose numbers may not exceed 250, is the aim of a grant to the Zoological Society of London. The organization will build on its past success uniting stakeholders in a difficult political landscape, strengthening collaboration to coordinate and integrate all aspects of Hainan gibbon conservation work, including monitoring and field surveys.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has seen progress, working with the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to increase protection for endangered Southern White-cheeked gibbons, whose numbers have fallen by half over the past 45 years, according to the IUCN Red List, due to logging, agricultural encroachment, and hunting. The IUCN plans to work with communities and local authorities in Khounkham and Hinboun districts to create zones for gibbon conservation in the Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area. The organization will work to ensure that the patrolling and law enforcement teams that have been established will continue to monitor their management zones.

Funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society aims to eliminate threats to the Hoolock gibbon in the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar by increasing the effectiveness of patrols and law enforcement in the area and by defining a buffer zone for community use around the protected area.

In-depth understanding and collaboration is the focus of a second grant to the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Fouta Djallon Range of west-central Guinea, where the organization plans to conduct a baseline conservation study and work with Guinea-based organization Guinée Ecologie to manage a conservation program. A central priority is to involve local village land-management leaders in a participatory approach to chimpanzee habitat conservation.

Building on significant wins influencing industry behavior in the world’s last tropical forests, Greenpeace intends to use funding to support the Zero Deforestation Campaign to transform the Indonesian pulp and paper and palm oil industries toward zero deforestation as standard practice.

Targeting climate change, Global Witness Limited will use funds to advocate for reduced illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, Borneo, the Congo basin, and Liberia. A grant to the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University in the Netherlands, will support the innovative One Health Initiative, a multidisciplinary project to study the ethical component of human health, animal and ecosystem health, and working toward sustainable human coexistence with wild animals.

Fauna & Flora International will set its sights on reducing threats to chimpanzees in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The organization will work to implement the Culture, Values, and Conservation approach, uniting cultural institutions, local communities, and the park management in monitoring chimpanzee populations and reducing human-chimpanzee conflict by building a buffer zone planted with marketable crops that are not appealing to the ape population.

In the Captive Apes portfolio, the Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, which provides sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees in Florida, will use funding to make long-term plans for sustainability.