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Great Ape Trust awards $127,000 for international conservation efforts

Des Moines, Iowa November 1, 2007 Officials with Great Ape Trust of Iowa, a world-class scientific research facility in Des Moines, announced today the organization will award nearly $127,000 this year to 22 international conservation efforts. Dr. Benjamin Beck, director of conservation at Great Ape Trust, said the funding represents a 46 percent increase over 2006 levels. In the past four years, The Trust has awarded nearly $300,000 for conservation initiatives that support orangutans in Asia; bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas in Africa; and golden lion tamarins in South America.

All of the apes are endangered, some critically endangered. They are a crucial component of our natural heritage, and key species in the rain forest ecosystems in which they live, said Beck. If the great apes die, the forests die, and we lose priceless services such as maintenance of air quality, security of fresh water sources, control of erosion and siltation, temperature and climate stability, and pollination of domestic crops. The ensuing poverty and desperation undermine world peace and the quality of life of people everywhere, including Iowa. This is not simply somebody elses problem.

Great Ape Trust conservation grants support a variety of grassroots efforts that include studies of orangutans at a new field site in Sumatra, a sanctuary for orphaned bonobos in Democratic Republic of Congo, a first-of-its-kind natural history museum in Uganda, and reintroduction efforts of golden lion tamarins in Brazil.

With todays announcement, Great Ape Trust has awarded $297,239 for international conservation efforts over the past four years:

  • 2007: $126,595

  • 2006: $86,656

  • 2005: $56,488

  • 2004: $27,500

Most of the 2007 conservation grants came from the Great Ape Trust operating budget but nearly $22,000 was generated from the 2nd Annual Bowlathon for Great Apes and individual donations.

Our goal is to fund our conservation grant program entirely from events and donations, making precious funds available for the development of the Great Ape Trust campus, said Beck.

The following are the funding levels and conservation initiatives supported in 2007 by Great Ape Trust:


  • Ketambe Research Center $10,000 Supported salaries and expenses of Indonesian field assistants and students conducting orangutan observation studies.

  • National University of Indonesia $5,250 Tuition provided to Indonesian graduate students involved in orangutan research and conservation.

  • West Batang Toru Forest Block $10,000 Support for field studies at a new orangutan research site in Sumatra with an estimated population of 400 to 600 orangutans.

  • Cabang Panti Field Research Station $5,000 Provided funds to re-open the ecological research station in Gunung Palung National Park.


  • Salonga National Park $6,000 Great Ape Trust provided funds to expand surveillance and patrol efforts in an additional 80 square kilometers of forest in Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Lomami Bonobo Survey $10,500 Purchased a satellite communications system to transmit scientific data, support on-line educational programming and enable emergency communication from an expedition probing unexplored areas deep in the range of bonobos in Democratic Republic of Congo.


  • Goualougo Triangle $10,000 Supported field studies of chimpanzee tool use in the Republic of the Congo.

  • Kyambura Gorge $3,000 Provided funds for salaries and supplies for local field assistants to maintain a tree nursery, plant trees and build fire breaks to protect them.

  • Mainaro $10,000 The Trust supported Yale University scientists studying the abundance, distribution and behavior of chimpanzees in Ugandas Kibale National Park.

  • Kaburala Natural History Museum $7,245 Funded the first natural history museum of its kind in Uganda, located in the Kaburala trading center near Kibale National Park and a second museum in the village of Sebitoli.

  • Nyungwe Forest Conservation Project $5,000 Purchased more than 1,500 energy-efficient wood stoves for families in Rwanda. The stoves reduce demand on wood from rain forest.

  • Wild Chimpanzee Foundation $7,400 Supported public education programs about West African chimpanzees in Ivory Coasts Banco National Park.


  • Cross River Gorilla Rangers $10,000 Provided salaries for two teams of seven gorilla rangers to implement patrols in Cameroon and Nigeria.

Golden Lion Tamarins

  • Golden Lion Tamarin Association $5,000 Supported the Associations geoprocessing laboratory which maps land tracts that might be converted into private nature reserves.

Great Ape Sanctuaries

  • Sanctuary Capacity Study $500 Helped fund a study to predict the number of great ape orphans that range country sanctuaries might have to accommodate in the next 50 years.

  • Chimpanzee Conservation Center $5,000 Great Ape Trust assisted in the purchase of a vehicle for use in reintroduction efforts of chimpanzees in Guinea.

  • Lola ya Bonobo $6,000 Supported operational costs of a bonobo orphanage and sanctuary near Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Great Ape Trust Campus

  • Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction $4,000 Installation of an electric bubbler to maintain open water for a pair of trumpeter swans released by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Partner Organizations

  • Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) $4,000 Contributed to printing of IUCNs Best Practice Guidelines for the Re-introduction of Great Apes, drafted and edited by three Great Ape Trust staff members.

  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums $500 Contributed to AZAs Conservation Endowment Fund which supports nearly 20 international conservation projects annually.

  • Partners in Conservation $1,000 Supported Columbus Zoos annual event to raise funds for ape conservation efforts in central Africa.

  • Chicago Zoological Society $1,200 Helped defray costs for four Indonesian orangutan experts to attend Brookfield Zoos first international orangutan husbandry workshop


Contact: Al Setka
Great Ape Trust of Iowa  

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