The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) – Ian Redmond Conservation Award was created to encourage innovation, inspire leadership, and offer hope in the field of great ape conservation in Africa and Asia. The 2nd GRASP – Ian Redmond Conservation Awards winners were chosen by a five-member committee comprised of representatives from UN Environment, UNESCO, the GRASP Secretariat, and the GRASP Scientific Commission, as well as Ian Redmond himself. Four winners — three from Africa and one from Asia — each played an integral role helping ensure the survival of great apes worldwide.

“There are many unsung heroes working on the conservation frontline, trying to bring greater attention to the protection and conservation to Great Apes in Africa and Asia,” said Born Free president Will Travers. “The GRASP – Ian Redmond Conservation Awards are an important way of recognising the vital contribution made by these dedicated individuals and provides useful funding support for their efforts. Along with other partners, Born Free is delighted to be able to sponsor the awards and this year’s outstanding winners.”

EDI RAHMAN (INDONESIA)

There are several threats faced by Bornean orangutans in West Kalimantan: human conflict, logging, agriculture, fires, illegal pet trade, hunting and weak law enforcement. In the heart of the Gunung Palung National Park, the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Programme (GPOCP) is fighting against the decline of the orangutan population, which has dropped by 50% in the last 60 years. This project involves several steps to approach each of the issues. Purchasing a GPS unit and camera will increase surveillance for illegal activity. Public awareness will bring the villagers to understand the necessity of a protected forest and the intrinsic value of orangutans. Community meetings will inform the villages about the rules and regulations to preserve wildlife and valuable ecosystems for future generations. Anti-poaching efforts currently in place will benefit from increased surveillance and public awareness. Short-term success is measured by community members involved, informational materials distributed, and cases brought to court. Long-term success is measured by the increase of orangutan populations and a decrease in wildlife crime.

These steps will be implemented and monitored by Edi Rahman and his team at GPOCP. As the current Animal and Habitat Protection Manager, Edi has worked for over 12 years to protect orangutansand their habitat throughout the West Kalimantan. Having already facilitated workshops and fought for legal land rights for the villagers of the region, he is well equipped and experienced to take on this challenging role.