Ape Summit to Confront Issues
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the United Nations’ Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the Arcus Foundation will join to convene the Great Apes Summit, an international symposium that will tackle major issues that threaten the long-term survival of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans in Africa and Asia.
The Great Apes Summit will be held Sept. 21- 24, and will complement the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s biennial media industry conference through a high-profile series of public events and private conference sessions.
Great ape advocates, public policy experts, media professionals, range state leaders and program funders will take part in topic-driven meetings to highlight areas of concern, and propose solutions to ensure a future for these endangered species. Emphasis will be placed upon agreements or activities that will have significant impact.
Sessions will be grouped under three themes: 1.) Consumption, 2.) Ethics, and 3.) Going Forward.
• Consumption – the complex equation that trades the lives of great apes for food, fuel and products
• Ethics – the social and cultural implications of the manipulation and use of great apes by humans, and the illegal trafficking of animals that supplies these industries
• Going Forward – the combination of insight & action required to secure a future for great apes and their habitat
“The Great Apes Summit is a rare opportunity to bring new energy and new ideas into the effort to save great apes,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “Too many conferences highlight how many great apes we’ve lost, or how little habitat is left. We need to find some solutions that can reverse the paradigm. We need to explore new possibilities before it’s too late.”
Delegates from around the world will attend the Great Apes Summit to participate in plenary sessions and high profile keynotes that will be open to the general public and recorded for international distribution via the internet. Great Apes Summit delegates will join the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s industry conference, which includes over 500 international media professionals. This year’s festival will be thematically anchored on great apes and conservation, with sessions and screenings specifically targeting the issues and challenges faced by great ape advocates.
“If the great apes are to survive the forces that have so quickly and dramatically depleted their numbers and quality of life, conservationists, policy makers, governments and consumers will have to come together to achieve new levels of awareness, ethical resolve, collaboration and urgency, “ said Annette Lanjouw, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Great Ape Programs at Arcus. “We believe the upcoming Summit has catalytic potential in terms of broadening the community of advocates, identifying actionable solutions and advancing the intersecting interests of apes and humans.”
“There is no better place than Jackson Hole to demonstrate the economic and cultural benefits of building a community based on habitat conservation and environmental stewardship,” said JHWFF Executive Director, Lisa Samford. “Home to the world’s first national park, over the last 50 years Jackson Hole has faced many of the same challenges that are being confronted by great ape range states working to develop sustainable conservation economies, today.”
More than three million people venture to Jackson Hole each year to experience its stunning landscapes and unique recreational opportunities as well as its legacy as a thriving center for arts and culture—all built on the foundation of environmental stewardship.