2nd GRASP-Ian Redmond Awards Honor Frontline Great Ape Conservationists

Africans and Asians who battle poachers and illegal traders, train veterinarians, promote community engagement and return apes to the wild are among the winners of the 2nd Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) – Ian Redmond Conservation Award.

The announcement was made at the GRASP Regional Meeting – Southeast Asia, which was held recently in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

The GRASP-Ian Redmond Conservation Award, which is presented in partnership with the Born Free Foundation, was created to encourage innovation, build partnerships, inspire leadership, and offer hope in the field of great ape conservation. It also honors Redmond, who was instrumental in launching GRASP in 2001.

The winners of the 2nd GRASP-Ian Redmond Conservation Award, chosen by a review panel comprised great ape experts, are:

  • Peter Apell from Uganda, who trains local veterinarians and performs emergency care on apes caught in snares as part of the Chimpanzee Health Interventions Monitoring Programme (CHIMP).
  • Mamadou Saidou Deba Barry from Guinea, who investigates the illegal trade in great apes and other endangered wildlife with the Guinée-Application de la Loi Faunique (GALF) programme that operates as part of the EAGLE Network.
  • Edwin Sabuhoro from Rwanda, who promotes community-based conservation and alternative livelihoods in and around the Volcanoes National Park through the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village.
  • Jamartin Sihite from Indonesia, who has successfully reintroduced 167 orangutans into the wild and protected rainforests since 2012 through the Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).

“The work of these four people is inspirational,” Redmond said. “I am proud to recognize such outstanding individuals who display exactly the kind of innovative thinking we are going to need if apes are to survive – indeed to thrive – in their natural habitats.   And in the run up to the Paris climate talks (in December 2015), international recognition of the importance of tropical forests has never been greater.   Apes are among the most important ‘gardeners of the forest’ and these conservationists such don’t just save apes, they play an important role in keeping the forests healthy and the climate stable for the benefit of all.”

Winners of the inaugural GRASP-Ian Redmond Conservation Award came from Nigeria, Cameroon and Indonesia, reflecting the vast scope of the GRASP work.

“GRASP is pleased to be able to support the work of these dedicated Africans and Asians,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “They represent the future of great ape conservation, and they give us hope.”

Each GRASP-Ian Redmond Conservation Award winner receives a plaque and $5,000 for the project, made possible through the support of GRASP and the Born Free Foundation.

“There are many unsung heroes working on the conservation frontline, trying to bring greater attention to the protection and conservation to Great Apes in Africa and Asia,” said Born Free president Will Travers. “The GRASP – Ian Redmond Conservation Awards are an important way of recognising the vital contribution made by these dedicated individuals and provides useful funding support for their efforts.  Along with other partners, Born Free is delighted to be able to sponsor the awards and this year’s outstanding winners.”