The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) today expressed “grave concern” over an alleged illegal palm oil concession and man-made fires that have affected rainforests in northern Sumatra and threatened to wipe out entire populations of orangutans living in the region, and called on the Government of Indonesia to enforce laws protecting orangutans and their habitat.
The fires – which were started to clear land for palm oil expansion in Sumatra’s Aceh Province —have ripped through the Tripa peat swamp, home to a spectacular range of biodiversity within the protected Leuser Ecosystem.
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), which was launched 10 years ago to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia, today unveiled a new logo that re-energizes the partnership of member nations, conservation organizations, and United Nations agencies going forward.
The new GRASP logo is predominantly blue and white, with a distinctive green leaf that represents GRASP’s commitment to biodiversity and ecosystem management. The logos of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – which jointly host the GRASP secretariat – are also included.
A government order permitting oil exploration in the Virunga Mountains could pose a threat to critically endangered Mountain gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to officials from the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
“There are approximately 780 Mountain gorillas left in the wild, and any disturbance in their ecosystem could have disastrous results,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “Surely oil is not worth that cost.”
The Virunga National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994, and is currently included in the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre recently issued a statement that cited “deep concerns” over the oil exploration process.
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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