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).
Join us for a Google+ Hangout with the lead authors of the Borneo Report, Dr. Serge Wich and Dr. Johannes Refisch on the 3rd of September at 08:00-09:00 GMT. Joining the authors will be GRASP coordinator Doug Cress and Malaysian University graduate students.
Uganda Census Ends; Results A Year Away
The Mountain gorilla census for Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that began in September concluded three weeks ago, but researchers say it could take at least a year to analyze the data and release accurate figures regarding the population of Mountain gorillas in the region.
The project was led by the International Gorilla Conservation Program (ICP), in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Max Planck Institute – all of whom are members of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP). It is the fourth census conducted of Mountain gorillas in Uganda since 1997, and is expected to identify at least 300 individuals.
Approximately 780 Mountain gorillas are known to exist in the three countries that comprise their range: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Report: Orangutans Killed for Meat in Kalimantan
A conservation report states that 691 endangered orangutans were killed in Borneo during a recent 17-month period – many for meat, and some at the behest of palm oil companies – with any babies captured alive sold into the pet trade.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) coordinated the report, which was supported by GRASP partners such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), among others, and involved a survey of 698 villages across Kalimantan.
TNC program manager Neil Makinuddin said 70 percent of the respondents knew that orangutans were a protected and endangered species when they hunted the animals.
UNEP Study Confirms DR Congo Biodiversity Under Threat
Kinshasa – A major Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) confirms the country’s wealth of natural resources, but warns that 190 species – including critically endangered Mountain gorillas – are in peril, that the illegal bushmeat trade has devastated biodiversity, and that tropical rainforests are an untapped source of ecosystem revenue worth $900 million annually.
DR Congo possesses half of Africa’s forests and water resources and trillion dollar mineral reserves, and could become a powerhouse of African development provided multiple pressures on its natural resources are urgently addressed.
But the study, Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the Democratic Republic of Congo: Synthesis Report for Policy Makers, warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis that has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water.
Download the report: [English] [French] (PDF, 5mb)
UN Offers ‘Green Economy’ Options to Offset Cost of Critical Orangutan Protection
Jakarta – Indonesia could balance conservation and development objectives – and potentially triple the economic benefits derived from key orangutan habitats– by adopting Green Economy initiatives, according to an 18-month study released today by theUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under its Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Management in Sumatra, which was produced at the request of the Republic of Indonesia, examines specific sites in Sumatra that host significant populations of critically endangered orangutans, and offers concrete sustainable land-use options.
Continue to Orangutan Report Website
UN Report Provides Grim Update on State of Gorillas
The future for gorillas in Africa is getting bleaker, according to a UNEP-Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) report that assessed the econimic and environmental pressures threatening the species’ survival. Last Stand of the Gorilla, which was funded by France, UNEP/UNESCO and GRASP as a Contribution to the UNEP/CMS Year of the Gorilla campaign, suggests that accelerating impacts from poaching to illegal logging are hitting great ape populations and habitats faster than previously supposed. UNEP and INTERPOL call for more support for border and customs controls.
Read Last Stand of the Gorilla Interactive e-Book.