Spring 2015 Great Apes Grants Focus on Sanctuary Care

March 30, 2015

Growing recognition of the need for safe and appropriate care for great apes living in sanctuaries, both in the United States and in range states such as Indonesia, underpins several grants in the Arcus Foundation’s spring 2015 grantmaking portfolio, which aim to advance the capacity of several organizations to provide the high-quality care that rescued chimpanzees will require well into the future.

A grant to the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, a long-term Arcus partner, will help it to develop a model ape sanctuary program through its work with the U.S. national sanctuary Chimp Haven, which is home to more than 200 chimpanzees that have been released from medical research facilities. The zoo intends to conduct behavioral research and monitoring, the results of which will be used to spearhead an education and outreach program shared with sanctuaries worldwide.

A partner in this initiative is Yayasan International Animal Rescue (YIARI) in Indonesia, which received funding to care for captive orangutans and explore reintroduction strategies in West Kalimantan. The grant to YIARI, which cares for more than 60 orangutans, will help the organization build on its success in rescuing illegally captured orangutans and mitigating human-orangutan conflict, enabling it to identify animals that are prepared for release. The organization plans to research and identify politically stable habitat with sufficient food resources to support orangutan survival. It will also seek improvements in welfare for those orangutans who cannot be released by using land that it has purchased to serve as sanctuaries.

A grant to the Fort Pierce, Florida–based organization Save the Chimps aims both to help the sanctuary continue to provide a clean, safe, natural habitat along with a nutritious diet and enrichment activities for more than 250 chimpanzees in its care and to develop a strategic vision to guide the organization toward sustainability and self-sufficiency well into the future. The Silvery Gibbon Project in Perth, Australia, received funding to build the Javan Gibbon Center in Indonesia to ensure protection of wild populations, increase sanctuary capacity, and successfully reintroduce gibbons where possible.

With a three-year grant, the Wildlife Conservation Society plans to expand its Great Ape Health Program in the Republic of Congo by building a more advanced disease diagnostic laboratory—a facility whose work promotes robust ape populations and seeks to anticipate and counter emerging threats, including human Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa. Funding will enable the organization to build its diagnostic capacities, increase laboratory staff, and strengthen its infrastructure.v

To support long-term conservation efforts in Sabah, Malaysia, the organization HUTAN-Kinbatangan Orang-Utan Conservation Project will use funding to support its rapidly growing work to influence conservation policy on the island of Borneo. In seven years, HUTAN has grown from a small research station to an organization that not only surveys and monitors ape populations, but also researches and makes recommendations on the larger issues of palm-oil plantation management and other statewide conservation policy issues. The four-year grant will support long-term studies leading to a framework for wildlife population management both in and out of protected areas, ultimately alleviating destruction of orangutan populations through reduced logging and illegal activities.

Also receiving funding is the Oakland, California–based Land Empowerment Animals People to support the communications and policy work of Borneo Futures, a scientific research collaboration to inform land-use policies in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Additional grants were provided to Global Eye Trust, In Defense of Animals, and Project Primate, Inc.