GRASP Hits 100 with Asia Expert Partners

13th Jul 2015 Featured, Press Releases

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) strengthened its ability to address key Asian conservation issues such as palm oil and habitat protection through the addition of two organizations that increased the partnership to 100, following a vote by the GRASP Executive Committee.

GRASP welcomes the Orangutan Land Trust, which focuses on issues of land use and habitat protection in Borneo and Sumatra, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado, USA, which has been among the global leaders in promoting sustainable palm oil for more than a decade.

GRASP had added 19 partners since 2013, which represents a 24 percent growth in national governments, research institutions, United Nations agencies, conservation organizations and private supporters committed to the protection of great apes and their habitat.

“GRASP’s goal is not to add numbers, but to add expertise,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “It is wonderful that we now have 100 partners, and the recent growth indicates that GRASP’s priorities are in line with the conservation community. These latest partners will help us be more effective on key issues in Asia.”

GRASP partners receive a vote in the GRASP Council, and are represented through delegates to the GRASP Executive Committee.

The Orangutan Land Trust (OLT) is a U.K.-based  organization that focuses on issues of land use and development to protect orangutan and their habitat in Borneo and Sumatra. OLT also works closely with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and collaborates with existing GRASP partners on rescue and rehabilitation projects for orphaned orangutans.

“Orangutan Land Trust is very honoured to be accepted as a member of GRASP,” said director Michelle Desilets. “OLT believes that collaboration is key to achieving sustainable solutions for protecting the great apes, and we look forward to engaging with GRASP to deliver these solutions.”

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is situated in the mountains at 2,100 meters in Colorado Springs, and counts orangutans and gorillas among its 150 species. The zoo’s dedication to issues of palm oil and its impact on ape habitat in the wild make it one of the most progressive and pro-active zoos in the world.

“Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is honored to become a member of GRASP and to collaborate with other GRASP partners to save wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat,” said zoo vice-president Tracey Gazibara. “This new affiliation will further enhance the Zoo’s leadership role in encouraging the palm oil industry to become sustainable and deforestation free.”