A web-based tool that superimposes maps of valuable underground carbon stocks with great ape distribution in Africa and Asia – thereby making the strongest possible argument for protecting both – was launched this week in Monrovia, Liberia, by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the United Nations Collaborative Programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme).
Moses Mapesa Wafula, the former director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) who chaired the 1st Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Council and guided the partnership through its early years, died this week as a result of complications from leukemia.
An orphaned male chimpanzee discovered in a military camp in northern Democratic Republic of Congo was confiscated by Congolese wildlife officials this week and transported by United Nations peacekeepers to a rehabilitation centre in South Kivu.
The Illegal Trade in Great Apes: Webcast Episode 03
Rwanda president Paul Kagame publicly endorsed the petition to establish World Great Apes Day in his speech at the annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony on 5 September near Volcanoes National Park.
GRASP Blog Winner Goes ‘APP’
A mobile phone application that allows consumers to tell instantly whether products they might purchase contain materials harmful to great apes and their habitat was the winning entry in the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Blog Competition that posed the question, “How Can Technology Save Great Apes?”
The winning entry was submitted by Adriana Klompus, a graduate of Colombia University in the U.S. with a life-long interest in conservation and the great apes. Her blog – “Barcode Activism: Use Your Wallet and Smartphone in a Wired Marketplace to Help Great Apes” – received 36 percent of the votes cast in an on-line voting competition that closed September 30.
Klompus will present her proposal during the “Great Apes & Technology” plenary of the 2nd GRASP Council, which will be held November 6-8 in Paris. The GRASP Blog Competition received 5,689 on-line votes and was presented in association with Brussels Airlines.
GRASP Backs Calls for DR Congo Peace Talks
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.
New Gorilla Airlift Sparks Calls for Stronger Controls on Natural Resource Smuggling in Greater Congo Basin & Beyond
Kigali/Nairobi, 4 June 2010 – UN Peacekeepers in DR Congo are planning a new gorilla rescue airlift next month, in what may be one of the first operations conducted under their new mandate. As of 1 July, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) will convert to a stabilization mission, as per a recent decision by the UN Security Council.
The rescue is being carried out amid concerns for the future of the endangered species and recommendations by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL to strengthen the capacity of the UN Mission and law enforcement bodies to combat cross-border environmental crime in the Greater Congo Basin and gorilla range states.
The operation, planned for mid July, is the second to be conducted by UN forces in DR Congo as part of a wider effort to combat the illegal cross-border trade in baby gorillas, which has intensified in recent years with the proliferation of armed groups in the region.