The role of zoos has evolved to prioritize research, education, and conservation in modern times. While some groups still condemn their existence based on a reputation of entertainment and fun-fairs started in the 1800s, many zoos are working hard to change that narrative. In collaboration with scientific agencies, governments and other conservation bodies, zoos are now playing their part in the much bigger picture of the conservation of our natural world
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).
The Illegal Trade in Great Apes: Webcast Episode 03
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.”
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.