GRASP Extends Great Ape Reach to Canada

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) expanded its global reach with the addition of the Canadian Ape Alliance, the first Canadian partner to join the United Nations effort to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.

The Canadian Ape Alliance, which was established in 2000, focuses on community development and education conservation projects in East Africa.

The Canadian Ape Alliance was admitted to GRASP following a vote during the 11th GRASP Executive Committee meeting in Paris. The Canadian Ape Alliance becomes the 105th partner of GRASP and will join the E (non-governmental organizations) category.

“GRASP’s mandate calls for partners to influence, encourage and assist local communities, and that is exactly what the Canadian Ape Alliance does,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “The fact that conservation organizations from so many nations – including, now, Canada – are committed to GRASP and its work emphasizes the value of the partnership in confronting this international crisis.”

The Canadian Ape Alliance is led by Dr. Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist and a member of the faculty at the University of Toronto who has worked in great ape conservation for over 20 years.

“Canadian Ape Alliance is truly pleased to join GRASP,” Bowman said. “We are a small but determined group. The majority of our work has been with projects associated with Grauer’s gorilla conservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but providing education and awareness of great ape issues in Canada has also been a major focus of our work.  We greatly look forward to building partnerships with GRASP members.”

The Canadian Ape Alliance advances conservation and awareness of all great apes and the environments they live in, by respecting the needs and enriching the lives of surrounding human communities. Recent projects have included conservation mapping in the Congo Basin, agricultural programmes for the Batwa communities, and creation of an environmental school adjacent to the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in DR Congo. For more information, visit

GRASP has grown by over 30 percent since 2013, and will convene the full partnership at the 3rd GRASP Council that will be held 21-24 November in Jakarta, Indonesia. Themes of that meeting will include climate change, illegal trade and sustainable palm oil, and partners will vote whether to add gibbons to the GRASP mandate.

Each GRASP partner receives a vote in the GRASP Council, and is represented through delegates to the GRASP Executive Committee.

GRASP is the unique alliance of 105 national governments, research institutions, conservation organizations, United Nations agencies, and private companies committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes in Africa and Asia. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit