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– Search Results – Great Apes Survival Partnership
Stolen Apes Report

Stolen Apes Report

30th Jan 2015

Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans

The illegal trade that sees almost 3,000 live great apes lost from the forests of Africa and Southeast Asia each year is increasingly impacting wild populations as links to organized crime grow stronger.

Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans [PDF] is the first report to analyze the scale and scope of the illegal trade and highlights the growing links to sophisticated trans-boundary crime networks, which law enforcement networks are struggling to contain.
Stolen Apes, which was produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through GRASP, estimates that a minimum of 22,218 great apes have been lost from the wild since 2005 – either sold, killed during the hunt, or dying in captivity – with chimpanzees comprising 64 per cent of that number.
The report examines confiscation records, international trade databases, law enforcement reports, and arrival rates from sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers between 2005 and 2011.
Over the past seven years, a minimum of 643 chimpanzees, 48 bonobos, 98 gorillas and 1,019 orangutans are documented to have been captured from the wild for illegal trade. These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, and extrapolating from this research the report estimates that at least 2,972 great apes are lost from the wild each year.
“The taking of great apes from the wild is not new – it has gone on for well over a century,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. “But the current scale outlined in this report underlines how important it is that the international community and the organizations responsible for conserving endangered species remain vigilant, keeping a step ahead of those seeking to profit from such illegal activities.”
All great apes are endangered and protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as Appendix I animals.
Yet Stolen Apes reveals that the illegal trade has shifted from being a by-product of traditional conservation threats such as deforestation, mining and bushmeat hunting to a more sophisticated business driven by demand from international markets.
These markets include the tourist entertainment industry, disreputable zoos, and wealthy individuals who want exotic pets as status symbols. Great apes are used to attract tourists to entertainment facilities such as amusement parks and circuses. They are even used in tourist photo sessions on Mediterranean beaches and boxing matches in Asian safari parks.
Since 2007, standing orders from zoos and private owners in Asia have spurred the export of over 130 chimpanzees and 10 gorillas under falsified permits from Guinea alone, an enterprise that requires a coordinated trading network through Central and West Africa. A safari park in Thailand admitted in 2006 that it acquired at least 54 orangutans from the forests of Borneo and Sumatra.
“It is important to establish baseline figures for the illegal trade in great apes, even if these numbers only hint at the devastation,” said Doug Cress, coordinator of GRASP. “Great apes are extremely important for the health of forests in Africa and Asia, and even the loss of 10 or 20 at a time can have a deep impact on biodiversity.”
The illicit trade is increasingly linked to organized crime, and sophisticated trans-boundary networks now move great apes along with other contraband such as ivory, arms, drugs, rhino horn and laundered money. A smuggler recently apprehended in Cameroon was transporting a live chimpanzee wedged between sacks of marijuana.
Profit margins are high for the criminal networks. The report found that a poacher may sell a live chimpanzee for US$50, whereas the middleman will resell that same chimpanzee at a mark-up of as much as 400 per cent.
Orangutans can fetch US$1,000 at re-sale, and gorillas illegally sold to a zoo in Malaysia in 2002 reportedly went for US$400,000 each.
“The illegal trade in apes has little to do with poverty,” said Ofir Drori, founder of the Last Great Ape Organization in Cameroon. “It is instead generated by the rich and powerful.”
Law enforcement efforts lag far behind the rates of illegal trade. Only 27 arrests were made in Africa and Asia in connection with great ape trade between 2005 and 2011, and one-fourth of the arrests were never prosecuted.
The report also found that the loss of natural great ape ranges in Africa and Asia helps drive the illegal trade, as it promotes contact and conflict between apes and humans. Great ape habitat is being lost at the rate of 2-5 per cent annually. By 2030 less than 10 per cent of the current range will remain on current trends.
In Southeast Asia, the conversion of rainforest for agro-industry is directly linked to the illegal trade, as orangutans are flushed from the forest and end up being captured, killed, or trafficked. Extractive industries such as logging, mining, and petroleum exploration create transportation and trade routes that facilitate the illicit traffic of great apes.
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Sumatran Orangutan Report

Sumatran Orangutan Report

30th Jan 2015

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  — Tripa swamp and the mountain forests of Batang Toru — both of which host significant orangutan populations.

The assessment quantifies the economic trade-offs between unsustainable and sustainable forms of land use, and considers the role of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and broader payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes in achieving balanced conservation and development objectives.

The results of the study indicate that the move towards more sustainable forms of development based on a consideration of the full value of ecosystem services provided by forests and other ecosystems may not reduce the relative proportion of income opportunities for governments although an increase in economic opportunities for local communities is foreseeable. Improving human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities are central to shifting towards a Green Economy.

Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Management in Sumatra

Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Management in Sumatra (2011)

Interactive e-Book [English] [Bahasa]  | Adobe PDF [English] [Bahasa]

Collaborating Partners: GRASP, ICRAF, Yayasan Ekosistemi Lestari (YEL), PanEco

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GRASP Supports the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb Initiative

GRASP Supports the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb Initiative

27th Jan 2015

GRASP & the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb

GRASP plays a significant role in the Spain-UNEP Partnership for LifeWeb initiative by implementing 6 of the 11 projects.

The Partnership focuses on providing direct support to protected area authorities in West and Central Africa, and in Indonesia.

The following projects aim to protect apes in some of the world’s most spectacular parks and reserves while safeguarding livelihoods for local populations many of whom depend on these same ecosystems.

Garamba National Park

Project Name

Support to conservation activities in Garamba National Park  

Country

Democratic Republic of Congo 

Time Frame

September 2010 – December 2011 

Direct Benefits

Conservation of endemic & rare species such as elephant, chimpanzee & northern white rhino; improved health services

Website

Gunung Leuser National Park

Project Name

Protecting critical orangutan habitat through strengthening protected areas in northern Sumatra 

Country

Indonesia

Time Frame

September 2010 – December 2011

Direct Benefits

Conservation of biodiversity namely orangutan, rhinoceros, tiger, elephant & restoration of degraded habitats; cultural & spiritual heritage

Website

Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Project Name

Support to conservation activities in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Country

Democratic Republic of Congo  

Time Frame

September 2010 – December 2011 

Direct Benefits

Conservation of endemic & rare species such as the Eastern lowland gorilla, chimpanzee & elephant

Website

Lossi Fauna Reserve

Project Name

Conservation, natural resource management & social ecology development of the Lossi-Odzala Interzone 

Country

Republic of Congo 

Time Frame

September 2010 – December 2011 

Direct Benefits

Income generation for communities through tourism; improved health services through Ebola monitoring; establishment of corridors to ensure long-term provision of forest services to local population

Website

Nouabale-Ndoki National Park

Project Name

Support to conservation activities in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park 

Country

Republic of Congo 

Time Frame

September 2010 – December 2011 

Direct Benefits

Conservation of biodiversity; improved human health through Ebola health monitoring; income generation through recruitment of local staff & tourism development

Website

Takamanda National Park

Project Name

Explore economic incentives to conserve Cross River gorilla habitat in Takamanda 

Country

Cameroon 

Time Frame

September 2011 – June 2012 

Direct Benefits

Provides economic incentives to conserve cross river gorilla habitat, thus increasing the hectares under conservation; provides alternative income; contributes to climate change mitigation.

Website

Related Links

Convention on Biological Diversity LifeWeb

Ministry of Environment – Spain

GRASP Lifeweb Magazine

Sharpub2ing forests – Great Apes & US. (English, French, Spanish)
Magazine on the projects developed in Central Africa (Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of Congo and The Republic of Congo) and Indonesia.

 

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U.N. Peacekeepers Airlift Chimpanzees from Supermarket to Sanctuary

U.N. Peacekeepers Airlift Chimpanzees from Supermarket to Sanctuary

26th Jan 2015

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).

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in DR Congo flew the chimpanzees directly from Kinshasa to Bukavu in an Antonov An-26 cargo airplane that was returning from an aid mission. The U.N. support turned a 1,000-mile journey over extremely difficult roads into a smooth three-hour flight.

The chimpanzees – a five-year old male nicknamed “Kin” and a three-year old female nicknamed “Shasa” – were confiscated following the intervention of DR Congo’s Minister of Environment. They will join the 55 resident chimpanzees at the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre and be integrated into natural social groups.

“As always, GRASP is extremely grateful to the MONUSCO officials who made this transfer possible,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “MONUSCO’s willingness to offer its resources and expertise on behalf of endangered great apes underscores its deep commitment to protecting the Democratic Republic of Congo’s natural heritage.”

U.N. peacekeepers have operated in DR Congo since 1999, and the current force includes over 20,000 military, civilian and judicial personnel authorized to help stabilize the region.

The U.N. has previously airlifted orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa on behalf of GRASP’s conservation initiatives, including an endangered Eastern Lowland gorilla on 27 May that had been orphaned by poachers. The 2013 GRASP report, Stolen Apes, estimated that a minimum of 2,972 great apes are lost from the wild each year in Africa and Asia through illicit activity.

Kin arrived with injuries to his right hip, most likely sustained when captured from the wild by poachers.

“Having been in captivity for well over one year, these chimpanzees will require extensive rehabilitation,” said Lwiro director Carmen Vidal. “They will be housed within our chimpanzee groups at the CRPL, once their one month quarantine period if completed. The CRPL also works in collaboration with the IUCN with regards to the Conservation Action Plan for the Kivu Landscape and as such has the long term goal of reintroduction of wildlife into their native habitat.”

For more information, please contact [email protected].

GREAT APE SURVIVAL PARTNERSHIP (GRASP) is a unique alliance of 98 national governments, United Nations agencies, conservation organizations, zoos, and private supporters working to conserve great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.

INSTITUT CONGOLAIS POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE (ICCN) is DR Congo’s wildlife authority. ICCN has a legal mandate to enforce the conservation laws that are designed to protect DR Congo’s flora and fauna.

LWIRO PRIMATE REHABILITATION CENTRE (CRPL) was established by the ICCN and the Centre de Recherché en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN) in 2002 to provide long-term care to animals confiscated from poachers and illegal traders. The CRPL houses 55 chimpanzees and 75 monkeys, representing more than 10 different species.

GORILLA DOCTORS — which was formerly known as the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project – works in East Africa to monitor the health status of both Mountain gorillas and Grauer’s gorillas and guard against disease outbreaks and transmission. The organization was the brainchild of gorilla expert Dian Fossey, and was founded a few weeks after her murder in 1985.

August 2014

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A.P.E.S portal

A.P.E.S portal

26th Jan 2015

apes-portal

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.

The A.P.E.S project was initiated in 2005 as a joint effort between the Great Apes Section (SGA) of the Primate Specialist Group and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In the first two years of the project the focus was on the compilation of ape population data and the development of an access and release policy. In 2007 the A.P.E.S. project was combined with an initiative by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP WCMC, Cambridge, UK), the Arcus Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute, which has evolved into the current platform. The website and database is hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the dashboard is hosted by UNEP WCMC.

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apeAPP

apeAPP

16th Dec 2014

Welcome to the apeAPP, a tool created by the Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP) to directly link  the general public to our closest cousins: chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and bonobos. Track your favorite species and see exclusive photos, videos and fact sheets. Get the lastest updates from the field, and find out what you can do to help.

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UN Helicopters Return Gorilla Orphan to DR Congo

UN Helicopters Return Gorilla Orphan to DR Congo

18th Nov 2014

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 (Fossey Fund), Gorilla Doctors, Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center, Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC), and Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Gorilla Doctors drove the orphaned gorilla from Kinigi, Rwanda to the Congolese border town of Goma early in the day, with logistical support from Fossey Fund, RDB, and local law enforcement. From there, a U.N. helicopter transported the 4-year-old gorilla – named “Ihirwe,” which means “luck” in the local Kinyarwanda language –to the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center in Kasugho, a remote region of northeastern DR Congo.

At GRACE, Ihirwe will join 13 other orphaned gorillas in the world’s only sanctuary dedicated to Grauer’s gorillas. This will be her first chance to live with other gorillas after she was illegally captured from the wild by poachers in 2011.

The MI 8 transport helicopter rescue was part of the U.N.’s regularly scheduled air traffic within the region as part of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) effort, and arranged to transport the gorilla through GRASP. The flight reduced what would have a grueling 150-mile (250 kilometers) trip overland to less than two hours.

“GRASP is extremely grateful to the MONUSCO officials who made this transfer possible,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “We recognize that moving endangered species to safety is not normally part of a peace-keeping mission, but MONUSCO’s willingness to help underscores its commitment to protecting DR Congo’s natural heritage.”

Ihirwe was confiscated from poachers as an infant, and had been living in a quarantine facility in the town of Kinigi, where Fossey Fund and Gorilla Doctors provided caregivers to stay with her 24 hours a day since her arrival, acting as surrogate parents. The Gorilla Doctors’ international team of veterinarians nursed the young gorilla back to health after her rescue and have overseen her medical care throughout her time in Rwanda.

“We are thrilled to see Ihirwe finally return home to DR Congo and join other gorillas of her own subspecies at GRACE,” said Gorilla Doctors Regional Veterinary Manager Dr. Jan Ramer. “Under round-the-clock care, we have watched Ihirwe grow from a malnourished, frightened infant at the time of her rescue, to a healthy, confident young gorilla.”

The international collaboration to transport Ihirwe to her new home represents the strong commitment of both Rwanda and DR Congo to protecting their countries’ great apes. At GRACE, Ihirwe will re-learn forest skills and be integrated into a gorilla social group so that one day she may be released back into the wild.

“It is heartening to see Ihirwe make the transition to a new family at GRACE after caring for her in Rwanda for nearly three years,” said Clare Richardson, President and CEO of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. “By actively engaging Congolese communities living near gorilla habitat through our Grauer’s Gorilla Research and Conservation Program in DR Congo, we are also making an effort to stem the animal trafficking that produces these orphans.”

The 2013 GRASP report, Stolen Apes, estimates that a minimum of 2,972 great apes are lost from the wild each year in Africa and Asia through illicit activity, and gorillas comprise 14 percent of that total.

Eastern Lowland gorillas – also known as Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) — are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and are found only in eastern DR Congo. Seriously threatened by habitat loss, human encroachment, illegal trade, disease, and regional instability, it is estimated that no more than 5,000 Grauer’s gorillas remain in the wild.

“The cross-border collaboration that helped bring Ihirwe home to DRC to be with other gorillas has been inspiring to behold, as it demonstrates the commitment of both countries to gorilla welfare and conservation,” said Sonya Kahlenberg, GRACE Executive Director. “GRACE is honored to have been part of this effort and looks forward to helping Ihirwe adjust to her new life.”

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Tai-Sapo Forest Complex

Tai-Sapo Forest Complex

18th Nov 2014

The Tai-Sapo Forest Complex, shared by Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia,  represents the largest contiguous bloc of tropical rainforest within the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem, provides habitat for more than a quarter of Africa’s mammals including 12 species of primates, the dwindling West African chimpanzee and rare endemic species such as pygmee hippo and forest elephant. In Cote d’Ivoire, it consists of Taï National Park and three adjacent classified forests (Cavally, Goin-Débé, Haute-Dodo). In Liberia, it consists of Sapo National Park, Grebo National Forest (>900 km² of which is been proposed to be transformed into a national park) and several large forest concessions in Liberia.

GRASP and partners kickstarted a transboundary initiative in 2009 with the aim to establish a platform for transboundary collaboration and to establish national and transboundary corridors. A first transboundary stakeholder meeting was held in October 2009 in Abidjan where stakeholders agreed on the aim of the initiative, the process, and started initial work on legislation, economic incentives to conserve potential corridors, land-use planning and corridor establishment, and conflict prevention/resolution. Following a number of scoping missions and technical studies, the steering committee met for the first time in March 2013, elaborated on the vision, re-fined the ToRs for the steering committee, and developed an emergency plan, which will be implemented in parallel to the development of a long term strategic plan for the management of this transboundary landscape.

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