New GRASP Partners Increase Asian, African Impact

16th Dec 2015 Home, Press Releases

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) strengthened its ability to address orangutan conservation in Borneo through the addition of two organizations that increased the partnership to 102, following a vote by the GRASP Executive Committee.

GRASP welcomes the Orangutan Appeal UK, which works to protect orangutans and their habitat and provides direct support to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, and the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program, which engages local communities and governments in the conservation of critical wild populations in West Kalimantan.

The GRASP Executive Committee also voted to transfer the charter partnership status of the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) to the Eco-Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE) Network, the alliance that represents LAGA and illegal trade investigation units in nine African countries.

GRASP had added 21 partners since 2013, which represents a 26 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 is pleased to be able to add partners that bring such tremendous expertise and commitment to orangutan preservation in Southeast Asia, which increasingly emerges as the frontline of great ape conservation, ” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “But it’s also essential that we’re able to go back and revise the status of some partners, particularly if they have grown to be as impactful as the EAGLE Network.”

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

The Orangutan Appeal UK is a UK-based organization that was established in 2000 to provide funding and logistical support to conservation projects in both Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. The Orangutan Appeal UK also works closely with the Sabah Wildlife Department to monitor reintroduced orangutans in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. For more information, visit http://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk.

“Everyone at the Orangutan Appeal UK are delighted to have been welcomed into the GRASP family,” said founder Susan Sheward. “As specialists on orangutan rehabilitation in Malaysia, we recognize the need to develop and strengthen our international collaborations to help secure a sustainable future for the orangutan. We hope that our partnership will add further weight to what is already an impressive alliance, and we look forward to raising greater awareness of our shared mission among our supporters and contacts.”

The Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP) grew out of the research project undertaken by Dr. Cheryl Knott in 1994 that focused on the estimated 2,500 wild orangutans – or 14 percent of the remaining species — in the Gunung Palung National Park. The decision to engage nearby communities in the protecting park and its wildlife have helped the project thrive. For more information, visit http://savegporangutans.org.

GPOCP is committed to working with local communities to support grassroots conservation action among people living around this critical orangutan habitat, “Knott said.Our work entails environmental education with schools and communities, developing sustainable livelihoods, assisting local communities in obtaining the legal titles needed to protect their community forests, wildlife crime investigations and scientific research.  We are excited to join GRASP, which will expand our network and increase our ability to save Gunung Palung’s orangutans.

The EAGLE Network is the umbrella organization established by illegal trade activist Ofir Drori that that unites investigation units in Cameroon, Congo, Uganda, Togo, Guinea, Benin, Gabon, Senegal and the Central African Republic. EAGLE operations have jailed more than 1,000 illegal traders and exposed corruption throughout African legal systems. For more, visit www.eagle-enforcement.org.

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