Are you concerned about the conservation status of great apes? Do you think you know how to save them? Can you say it in 500 words or less? If so, the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) wants to hear from you.The GRASP Blog Competition is asking the question – “How Can Technology Save Great Apes?” – and the winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to attend the 2nd GRASP Council, which will be held November 6th to 8th in Paris. The winning blog will be presented as part of the “Great Apes & Technology” session on November 8th.“Great ideas come from inspiration, and GRASP believes the on-line community offers a unique perspective on some of the conservation issues we face,” said Doug Cress, coordinator of GRASP. “If there is a new or novel approach to protecting chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas or bonobos out there, we want to hear it.”
A chimpanzee orphaned by the bushmeat trade was airlifted to safety by United Nations peacekeepers patrolling the Democratic Republic of Congo in a transfer coordinated by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
A U.N. helicopter transported the infant female chimpanzee – nicknamed “Beni” – from northeastern DR Congo on July 20 to the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center sanctuary in South Kivu.
The MI-8MTV transport helicopter rescue was part of the U.N.’s regularly scheduled air traffic within the region as part of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) effort, and reduced what would have a grueling 550-kilometer trip overland to less than two hours. In 2010, the U.N. also airlifted four orphaned gorillas from Rwanda to a sanctuary in DR Congo.
“GRASP is extremely grateful to the MONUSCO officials who made this transfer possible,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “Their commitment and coordination on behalf of an endangered species is truly admirable, and GRASP looks forward to developing this relationship further.”
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) welcomed Gabon’s recent call for peace negotiations between hostile forces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, following weeks of fighting in the Virunga National Park that has threatened the security of critically endangered Mountain gorillas.
Gabon Foreign Minister Emmanuel Issozet Ngondet on July 11 proposed “serious and frank negotiations” to restore peace, following a meeting in Kinshasa with DR Congo President Joseph Kabila.
"Gabon strongly condemns and deplores the prevailing security situation in North-Kivu province,” Ngondet said.
On July 15, the African Union announced it was prepared to send a peace-keeping force into the region.
Fierce fighting between DR Congo government forces and rebel factions broke out in and around the Virunga National Park in mid-June. On July 10, over 800 people - including park rangers and their families - were evacuated, leaving only a small group to protect the park headquarters and an orphan gorilla sanctuary at the site.
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The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) is an innovative and ambitious partnership comprised of great ape range states with an immediate challenge - to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas (Gorilla beringei, G. gorilla), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus) and orangutans (Pongo abelii, P. pygmaeus) across their ranges in equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia.
The A.P.E.S portal is an online tool that provides real-time, visual representation of information about great apes, their habitats, populations, threats and conservation efforts around the world.
© 2012 Great Apes Survival Partnership