New Arcus Report on Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation Reveals Potential of Collaboration Among Industry, Conservation, and Government Sectors

April 18, 2014

New York, NY – The Arcus Foundation, a global foundation promoting respect for diversity among peoples and in nature, today announced the release of State of the Apes: Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation, the first in a series of global reports examining a range of economic and social development issues through the lens of ape conservation. The timely report includes a case study examining threats of oil extraction in Africa’s Virunga National Park. The park is featured in the documentary Virunga that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.

As threats to conservation are increasingly driven by economic development, the State of the Apes series presents an objective and rigorous analysis on critical ape conservation issues and highlights opportunities for reconciliation and constructive engagement. Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation examines in this first volume the evolving context of the interface of extractive industries with ape conservation, including partnerships, solutions and compromises that complement industry and biodiversity conservation.

Through research and analysis, highlighted by case studies and best practices, the report presents a comprehensive and holistic overview of how extractive industries inter-relate and play a role in the current and future status and welfare of great apes and gibbons, and people dependent on the habitats they, and local communities, are dependent upon. Topics covered include international trade, trends and drivers; governance; land tenure; the direct and indirect impacts of extractive industries; and national responses.

Among the accounts included in the report is one that addresses Virunga, Africa’s richest park in terms of biodiversity. The park is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and protected by Congolese law from destructive extraction and exploitation. The Virunga region is densely settled by natural resource- dependent human populations as well as more than a quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and countless other endangered species.

“State of the Apes: Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation aims to stimulate informed dialogue among key leaders about the urgent need for new approaches to addressing escalating tensions between economic development and conservation efforts,” said Annette Lanjouw, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and the Great Apes Program. “Our intent is to see leaders in the extractive industry, policymakers, and conservationists come together and chart a new course to preserve these habitats, which are home to the world’s apes and countless other species.”

The report draws upon commissioned contributions from experts in industry, government, civil society and academia. This inaugural publication was edited by Helga Rainer, Alison White and Annette Lanjouw and published by Cambridge University Press with support from the Foundation.

The report is available from and from Cambridge University Press, the volume’s publisher. Later this month, Arcus will launch, a site devoted to exploration of the issues and findings of the publication.

Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation is a private grantmaking institution dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus’ work is based on the belief that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all of its inhabitants. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, UK.