Winter 2014 Conservation Grants Help Bring Bonobos Closer to Safety

January 20, 2015
Conserving the endangered bonobo in equatorial Africa’s Congo Basin is the focus of two of the multiple-year grants issued in the winter 2014 portfolio of Arcus Foundation Great Apes Program funding. Among the recipients, the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation intends to complete its ambitious work in establishing the new, 8,000-square-kilometer Parc National de la Lomami in the Tshuapa-Lomani-Lualaba landscape, an international locus of biodiversity and an area considered critical for the conservation of the bonobo.

The severely depleted bonobo population, estimates of whose numbers range from 29,000 to 50,000, will continue to decline without dramatic action, as a result of commercial poaching, hunting, and loss of habitat. To counter these threats, the Lukuru Foundation’s plans include developing a large buffer zone around the park and engaging local populations who live in the area to protect the park, manage their forests, and guarantee the survival of wildlife.

Friends of Bonobos, which operates Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only bonobo sanctuary, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, received funding to increase the technical capacity of its sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to 60 bonobos, most of them rescued following the killings of their parents. A team trained by the organization is implementing a program to carefully reintroduce bonobos, when possible, into a tropical forest reserve in Congo’s Equateur province.

The Humane Society of the United States plans to use funds to build on the success, with its partners, of bringing about the National Institutes of Health decision to cease research and retire almost all of the laboratory-based chimpanzees in the United States. The group is working to increase the capacity of the U.S. sanctuary system to accept the chimpanzees remaining in labs. The latter will be particularly urgent if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delivers a favorable decision to “uplist” captive chimpanzees as endangered. Such a decision, which is now pending, will halt the exploitation of chimpanzees, as they will be protected as endangered species. However, it will inevitably also lead to the retirement of hundreds of chimpanzees held in private, non–federally funded labs, and this will require significant additional sanctuary accommodations for these animals.

Among others, additional grants were provided to Nonhuman Rights Project, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Primarily Primates, and Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

For a full listing of the Great Apes Program grants announced in Winter 2014 cycle, please visit our Grantees section.