GRASP Adds Experience, Expertise Through New Partners
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) strengthened its links to law enforcement, international development and the zoo community and added strategic allies in Africa and Asia as it voted to accept eight new partners at the 8th GRASP Executive Committee meeting in Cambridge, U.K.
GRASP welcomed the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, the Arcus Foundation, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Endangered Species International, the Sumatran Orangutan Society, the Houston Zoo, the Barcelona Zoo, and the CHIMBO Foundation.
GRASP is comprised of 90 partners that include nations, conservation organizations, United Nations agencies, and private companies, each of which is committed to the conservation of great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.
GRASP partners receive a vote in the GRASP Council, and are represented through delegates to the GRASP Executive Committee.
“GRASP is pleased to be able to add new partners that offer such important skills and resources,” said Doug Cress, programme coordinator of GRASP. “Our commitment to protect chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans requires us to meet new challenges, access new resources, and engage new communities, and these partners are crucial to that effort.”
The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) is an inter-governmental organization created in 1996 that assists member nations in investigating violations of national laws pertaining to illegal trade in wildlife. Current parties to LATF are Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Lesotho, while South Africa, Ethiopia and Swaziland are signatories. For more, visit www.lusakaagreement.org
“Great apes are key species in the development of durable tourism and economies, and are vital social, cultural, ecological and natural companions, especially in Africa,” said LATF director Bonaventure Ebayi. “At LATF we value the apes and commend GRASP for the great work done so far in making great apes survival become a high priority for all across the world.”
The Arcus Foundation is the world’s largest private funder of great ape conservation and welfare, awarding over $9.7 million USD in grants in 2012. The Arcus Foundation is also a strong supporter of innovative projects such as the A.P.E.S. Portal database, social media campaigns, illegal trade monitoring, and community engagement efforts. For more, visit www.arcusfoundation.org.
“The Arcus Foundation welcomes the opportunity to join GRASP and collaborate more closely on issues that are essential to the protection and conservation of great apes,” said Annette Lanjouw, Arcus vice-president for Strategic Initiatives and Great Apes Program. “There are many threats facing the apes in Africa and Asia, and it will take a combined effort on a global scale ensure their long-term survival.”
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is comprised of 345 institutions in 41 countries that receive an estimated 140 million visitors each year. EAZA is committed to in situ conservation programmes, and raised over $830,000 USD for field projects through the EAZA Ape Campaign in 2010. For more, visit www.eaza.net.
“The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is very concerned about the future of wild great ape populations and its community does a large amount of conservation work for these species,” said Simon Tonge, chair of the EAZA Council. “EAZA is very pleased to have become part of the GRASP partnership and looks forward to a fruitful cooperation with GRASP.”
Endangered Species International (ESI) is a conservation organization that promotes partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector in order to influence policy. ESI is currently engaged in projects that track the bushmeat trade and illegal trafficking in great ape habitat in Central Africa. For more, visit www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org.
The Houston Zoo, which was established in the early 1900s, is the first American zoo to become a GRASP partner. The Houston Zoo is at the forefront of species conservation among U.S. institutions, and currently funds orangutan conservation in Borneo and chimpanzee conservation in Senegal. For more, visit www.houstonzoo.org.
The Barcelona Zoo, which is perhaps best-known for the albino gorilla, “Snowflake,” that resided at the zoo for almost 40 years, was founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest institutions in Europe. The Barcelona Zoo supports a wide variety of conservation research projects, including chimpanzee protection in Sierra Leone and gorilla studies in Cameroon. For more, visit www.zoobarcelona.cat/en.
The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) strengthens GRASP’s Southeast Asian presence, and focuses primarily on protecting the orangutans and restoring the habitat of the Gunung Lueser National Park. Founded in 1997, SOS also helps to coordinate rescues of orangutans orphaned by illegal hunting and deforestation. For more, visit www.orangutans-sos.org
The CHIMBO Foundation is the only conservation organization working specifically on the conservation of chimpanzees in Guinea-Bissau, and focuses on promoting sustainable development practices for mining, logging, tourism, and human development projects. For more, visit http://chimbo.org.
For more information, please visit www.un-grasp.org or contact [email protected]