Latest Round of Arcus Support Links Conservation Goals with Community Livelihoods

December 16, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (December 13, 2013) — Reconciling conservation goals with the livelihoods of local populations is the aim of several of Arcus’ latest grants for its Great Apes program whose focus extends across ape range states in the tropical belt of Africa and in Southeast Asia to other areas of the world where they are held in captivity in North America and Europe.

In Uganda’s Kibale National Park, where illegal firewood and charcoal collection by a growing population threatens the last substantial tract of pre-montane forest in East Africa, the New Nature Foundation will use funding to expand its ‘eco-briquette’ program—which turns farm waste into fuel, helping to safeguard this critical Eastern Chimpanzee habitat and provide income for the local community.

Also in Uganda, Greenpeace and local grassroots organizations are seeking to prevent deforestation of the world’s second-largest rainforest, in the Congo Basin, which involves presenting models of agro-forestry and green development that counter the misperception that rainforest protection comes at the expense of economic growth for low-income populations. It also plans to focus on participatory land-use planning and cancelation of illegal logging permits in Cameroon, Liberia, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

As richly biodiverse Myanmar increasingly opens its borders to international development and investment, a grant to the African Wildlife Foundation will launch the African Apes Initiative, bringing together organizations, governments, and research institutions to develop models for collaboration across four important sites: the Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon, Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal, and both the Bili-Uele Protected Area Complex and Maringa Lopori Wamba Landscape in DRC. Previously, protectors across this vast geographic expanse have had little opportunity to share strategies with one another.

Funding to the great apes work of the North Carolina Zoological Society will use funding to help develop early-career ape researchers and conservationists from ape range states and support their efforts to exchange information and develop strategies together.

Scientific research is a key component of Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which began a chimpanzee disease and health monitoring program in Uganda’s Albertine Rift. It aims to share its model—which includes reducing disease transmission by helping hunters and loggers find alternative livelihoods—with communities living close to other [chimpanzee] sites.

Improving Well-Being of Captive Apes

Through the Captive Apes portfolio of Arcus’ Great Apes program, Project Primate also received funding to monitor the first release into the wild of a group of chimpanzee victims of Guinea’s pet trade. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust received a grant to explore opportunities for long-term sustainability at Ngamba Island, in Lake Victoria, Uganda, as a way of safeguarding revenue sources.

An additional grant was made to the