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).
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 Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) joined the battle to protect endangered orangutans from the fires and haze ravaging Southeast Asia today with a $100,000 USD contribution to support Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) projects in Borneo.
On a recent flight from Jakarta to Denpasar, I stared out the window at the blue sky — a real luxury these days that I was only able to see after passing through toxic haze and smog. I am sure there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t wished for blue skies to return.
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.
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) welcomed the bold commitment to halt deforestation and support orangutan conservation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak that was announced at the recent GRASP Regional Meeting – Southeast Asia.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Haji Adenan Bin Satem announced a series of actions to protect Sarawak’s estimated 2,500 orangutans, which are endangered by clearing of forests for new oil palm plantations, illegal logging and other threats. Describing himself as an “amateur naturalist,” Adenan pledged “make decisions that are in the favour of nature.”
Chimpanzee was shot in cooperation with the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation in Côte d’Ivoire, and tracks the true-life travails of an infant male chimpanzee whose mother is killed by a leopard. The infant is adopted by others in his social group, and learns to survive in a beautiful but harsh environment.
Indonesia Government Launches Sumatra Investigation
Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment announced today it will open an investigation into the issuance of permits to convert rainforests into palm oil plantations in Sumatra, an allegedly illegal act that may have caused the death of hundreds of orangutans in man-made fires that were set to clear the land.
The ministry’s announcement came in response to findings by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) forest carbon reduction task force.
On April 13, the government-formed task force said it had evidence that Kallista Alam, a palm oil company, had violated regulations in turning the swamp forest into a plantation. The task force recommended that the ministry and the police further scrutinize the company’s actions.
“The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) applauds the Government of Indonesia for taking this bold step,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “The scale of the damage caused by these fires may not be immediately clear, but there’s no doubt that orangutans in Sumatra are in a perilous condition. As many as five percent of the total population may have been lost in these fires.”
The Patrons of GRASP – great ape experts Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Richard Wrangham and Russell Mittermeier – sent a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on April 13 asking to intervene in Sumatra, as the country’s biodiversity was under “extreme threat.”