GRASP To Launch Database to Monitor Ape Trade
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) will seek to monitor the illicit traffic in chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos with the creation of a Great Apes Illegal Trade Database that will support law enforcement and conservation efforts around the world.
The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database was announced on November 6 at the Interpol-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
The creation of a database was a key recommendation of the recent UNEP-GRASP report, Stolen Apes, which estimated that nearly 3,000 great apes are lost from the forests of Africa and Asia each year.
“We are only just beginning to understand the scale and the scope of the illegal trade in great apes, both at the national and international levels,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “A database is an essential tool that can help us identify hotspots, track trends and trade routes, and target markets. This information will also allow us to better understand the impact of illegal trade on wild populations.”
The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database is being developed in partnership with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and GRASP partners, which include range states, wildlife authorities, conservation organizations, U.N. agencies, and research institutions. Relevant trends or information will be made available to international law enforcement and trade organizations such as Interpol, CITES, and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force for follow-up.
The database is modeled on systems already in place to monitor the illegal killing and trade of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and rhino horns, and will contain both public sections and restricted sections catered to partners for analysis and topic focus.
The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database will be operational in mid-2014.
GRASP is a unique alliance comprised of partner nations, research institutions, United Nations agencies, conservation organizations, and private supporters working to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia. For more information, please visit www.un-grasp.org