Joint Statement on “Wonderful Friends” a Reality Show Promoting Unnatural Contact Between People and Captive Great Apes

Joint Statement on “Wonderful Friends” a Reality Show Promoting Unnatural Contact Between People and Captive Great Apes

24th Mar 2015 Featured, Press Releases

We are writing to express our deep concern with regard to the television program, ‘Wonderful Friends,’ a reality show promoting close and unnatural contact between people and captive chimpanzees, orangutans, elephants, lions and other dangerous exotic animals. The program causes us concern on many grounds, including the detrimental welfare of the animals, the promotion of misleading messages on wildlife conservation, and the potential threat to public safety. We respectfully request the immediate cancellation of the program and a halt to the production of similar programs.

Serious About Wildlife Crime| World Wildlife Day

Serious About Wildlife Crime| World Wildlife Day

11th Mar 2015 Public Awareness

GRASP Activity Details

Project Launch Title: Serious About Wildlife Crime| World Wildlife Day

Date of Completion: 2015-03-03

Website: www.wildlifeday.org

World Wildlife Day – observed annually, with this year’s theme ‘It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime’ – was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2013 for 3 March, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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The #Seriousaboutwildlifecrime Campaign

The topic of #Seriousaboutwildlifecrime has reached 44 million users across the internet, including 1 million Chinese social media users over the week of 3 March- 8 March. The campaign involved printing and taking selfies with the #SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime action poster http://j.mp/1yMHNES .The photos where then shared on various social media platforms having a reach of 10 million users.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Messege

Illegal wildlife trade undermines rule of law, degrades ecosystems and severely hampers the efforts of rural communities striving to sustainably manage their natural resources, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said  as the United Nations marked World Wildlife Day.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon marked World Wildlife Day 2015 with an address that stressed the “urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts

“Combating this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development; it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegal activities,” said Mr. Ban in a message on the Day.

“Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories,” the Secretary-General added.

The Illicit Trade in Great Apes Video

The illicit trafficking in live great apes is an increasingly serious threat to chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos in Africa and orangutans in Asia, with seizures averaging 1.3 per week since 2014. It is estimated that a minimum of 220 chimpanzees, 106 orangutans, 33 bonobos, and 15 gorillas have been lost from the wild over the last 14 months, according to the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).

High-Level Stakeholder Dialogue on Illegal Wildlife Trade @ WCS Central Park Zoo

To commemorate World Wildlife Day 2015 and honor their commitments to protecting wildlife and stopping wildlife crimes, the Permanent Missions of Gabon, Germany and Thailand to the United Nations, in collaboration with CITES, UNDP, UNEP, GRASP, UNODC, the World Bank (WB), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) gathered at the WCS Central Park Zoo on 3 March for a high-level panel discussion on the issue.

The discussion highlighted the importance of international coordination aimed at both the supply and demand sides of illegal poaching and trade. Panelists reviewed strategies to combat illegal wildlife trade, such as curbing international demand, improving intelligence and border control, strengthening regional law enforcement and prosecution capabilities, and facilitating community-based natural resource management approaches that give local communities greater voice and control in protecting resources.

The participants also discussed the importance of raising public awareness to reduce demand, including the World Wildlife Day global social media campaign, which reach over 15 million followers around this year’s theme: “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime.” As Sue Lieberman, Vice President of International Policy at WCS, said, “We know what to do; now we have to do it!”

Wildlife Conservation Society vice-president Sue Lieberman and GRASP coordinator Doug Cress discuss key issues during the World Wildlife Day 2015 panel session at the Central Park Zoo in New York.

Thailand Ambassador Chayapan Bamrungphong, Germany Ambassador Harald Braun and Gabon Ambassador Marianne Bibalou deliver statements of support during the World Wildlfie Day 2015 events at the Central Park Zoo in New York

Thailand Ambassador Chayapan Bamrungphong, Germany Ambassador Harald Braun and Gabon Ambassador Marianne Bibalou deliver statements of support during the World Wildlfie Day 2015 events at the Central Park Zoo in New York

The WCS Central Park Zoo event was attended by over 100 representatives from Member States, development organizations, civil society, the private sector, and media. The event included high-level speaker remarks and a moderated, interview-style panel and interactive dialogue. Welcoming remarks were provided by Nik Sekhran, Director of the Sustainable Development Cluster at UN Development Programme and Cristián Samper, President and CEO of WCS. Joint remarks were offered by Ambassador Marianne Bibalou, Chargée d’Affaires of Gabon, Ambassador Harald Braun, Permanent Representative of Germany, and Ambassador Chayapan Bamrungphong, Chargé d’Affaires of Thailand. Opening remarks were also shared by John Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), and Oyun Sanjaasuren, President of the UN Environment Assembly.

Moderated by Dan Harris, Nightline Anchor at ABC News, a panel discussion explored the “Links between Illegal Wildlife Trade, Crime, and Sustainable Development” and included Aldo Lale-Demoz, Deputy Executive Director at UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Nik Sekhran, Director of the Sustainable Development Cluster at UN Development Programme, Doug Cress, Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Programme Coordinator at UN Environment Programme, Sue Lieberman, Vice President of International Policy at WCS, and Ambassador William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at US State Department.

Commemoration of World Wildlife Day - General Assembly, Informal meeting

Opening segment: H.E. Mr. Sam K. Kutesa, President of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Keynote speakers: H.E. Ms. Oyun Sanjaasuren, UNEA President and Member of the Parliament (Great National Khural) of Mongolia (video-message); Mr. John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES; Ms. Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation; Ms. Nadya Hutagalung, Ambassador for the UN Great Apes Survival Partnership; Ms. Josephine Ekiru, Cultural Conservation Ambassador from Turkana, northern Kenya – Civil society Equator Prize winner on Wildlife Conservation

GRASP Ambassador Nadya Hutagalung address to UN General Assembly meeting on illegal wildlife trade #WorldWildlifeDay

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UN Helicopters Return Gorilla Orphan to DR Congo

UN Helicopters Return Gorilla Orphan to DR Congo

09th Mar 2015 UN Rescues

An endangered female Grauer’s gorilla, confiscated from poachers in Rwanda three years ago, was airlifted home to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) on, May 19 by United Nations peacekeepers in a transfer coordinated by a coalition of conservation partners that included the Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN), Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The A.P.E.S portal

The A.P.E.S portal

09th Mar 2015 Database

The A.P.E.S portal is an online tool that provides real-time, visual representation of information about great apes, their habitats, populations, threats and conservation efforts around the world.

U.N. Peacekeepers Airlift Chimpanzees from Supermarket to Sanctuary

U.N. Peacekeepers Airlift Chimpanzees from Supermarket to Sanctuary

09th Mar 2015 UN Rescues

Two chimpanzees that spent the past year living behind a supermarket in Kinshasa were airlifted by United Nations peacekeepers on 24 August to a permanent sanctuary in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in a joint effort between the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN), Gorilla Doctors, the Lwiro Centre for Primate Rehabilitation (CRPL), and the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).

Sumatran Orangutan Report

Sumatran Orangutan Report

09th Mar 2015 Palm Oil, Publications

This 18-month study explores opportunities for a more sustainable pathway to development in key orangutan habitats in Sumatra, and looks for reconciliation between forest and biodiversity conservation and economic progress. Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Management in Sumatra focuses on two pilot sites

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