Category Archives: Conservation Blog

The DuMond Conservancy hosts “African Ape Awareness”

On February 22, 2014, the DuMond Conservancy hosted the “African Ape Awareness” community festival. This environmental festival featured Dr. Andrew Halloran and Allison Argo as keynote speakers. Allison Argo is a six-time Emmy documentary filmmaker and Dr. Andrew Halloran is a Lynn University Chimpanzee conservationist.

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Other presentations included performances by students from Mays Conservatory of the Arts, and Delou African Dance Ensemble Inc.

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The youth at the DuMond Conservancy also put on an African Fashion show by Zabba Designs as well as a drama performance entitled ‘Welcome to the Congo’ by Kaithleen Canoepan.

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Vendors like Imperial Roasts brought sever Gourmet Coffees, Teas, Rum Cakes, and Biscottis, which contributed to the theme of the African Ape Awareness Festival. We also had vendors such as the Ceramic League of Miami who brought African art pieces, and the African Violet Society who held a workshop for participants to learn how to care for their plants

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Deforestation – The disappearing habitat of jungle dwelling orangutans

Deforestation means “the action or process of clearing forests.”

OrangsByDoaZooOrangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), arboreal apes found in Borneo and Sumatra, with great shaggy reddish-brown coats, very long arms, and no tail, became designated as an endangered species in 1970. These primates, the largest in Indonesia, live in the think jungle of these regions. Recent reports estimated that only 15,000-25,000 orangutans in total are left in Borneo and Sumatra.

The most obvious threat now facing orangutan populatios in Indonesia is the loss of habitat due to logging operations and deforestation. In addition, fires produced from logging industries have created a severe ecological problem throughout the islands of Indonesia.

Environmental groups in Indonesia have concentrated their invest igations on the Tanjung Puting National P ark on the island of Borneo, which is home to world famous centers to protect orangutans. There they found thousands of cubic meters of timber, including wood from increasingly rare species of trees, being processed at illegal sawmills within the park.
Shrinking habitat means more than simply less food and space for the red apes. It also greatly increases their exposure to poachers, whose preferred method of capturing infants to sell on the black market is to kill their mothers – a crushing blow to a species with an already fragile future. Females give birth to a single offspring every 3-6 years. A baby orangutan
grows very slowly, and although it may become somewhat independent at 3 years of age, it will stay with its mother until she gives birth again.

“A loss rate of one percent per year – which means killing just one female out of 100 – changes the population from being relatively stable to declining,” states Dr. Mark Leighton, a Harvard professor and rain forest ecologist who conducts primate research in southwest Borneo.

As the rain forests continue to decline, the pressures remain. Many of the surviving orangutans thrive in areas of forest far too small to support the population. If the current rate of deforestation continues, the world’s rain forests will vanish within 100 years-causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating the majority of plant and animal species on the planet.
Paul Jepson, a researcher at Oxford University’s School of Geography, said: “The illegal logging in Indonesia is of global significance; not only will we lose a number of endangered species through the destruction of their habitat, but the loss of the forests will also have an impact on global warming and on climate conditions not just in Indonesia, but across the world.”© Orangutan Foundation International/Environmental<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Investigation Agency
Through education, Monkey Jungle hopes to encourage its visitors to take part in the struggle against the mounting destruction of Indonesia’s lush forests and the delicate orangutans that struggle to survive within them.

Destruction: Large-scale illegal logging is occurring throughout Borneo in national parks that were once deemed free of it

© Orangutan Foundation International/Environmental Investigation Agency

Bushmeat: Poaching trade leads to ape extinction

Deforestation means “the action or process of clearing forests.”

Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) , arboreal apes found in Borneo and Sumatra, with great shaggy reddish-brown coat s, very long arms, and no tail, became designated as an endangered species in 1970. These primates, the largest in Indonesia, live in the think jungle of these regions. Recent reports estimated that only 15,000-25,000 orangutans in total are left in Borneo and Sumatra.
The most obvious threat now facing orangutan population s in Indonesia is the loss of habitat due to logging operations and deforestation. In addition, fires produced from logging industries have created a severe ecological problem throughout the islands of Indonesia.

The Victim: Gorillas are often targets of hunters throughout Africa looking to boost their profits. © Vanermedia

In Africa, where jobs are scarce and hunger rages on in the absence of sustainable nutrition, indigenous people turn to the bushmeat trade as a source of income. They are uneducated and unaware that their daily hunts and kills have long term effects on the gorilla and chimpanzee populations. During an expedition into the forest, a hunter will typically kill the mother of a family, leaving her young behind for hunters to use as transition pets. Babies doomed to live as pets almost certainly die fr om malnourishment, disease, or depression. Chimpanzees have extremely strong and loving family bonds, and if suddenly separated, can fall into a depressed state. In West Central Africa, wildlife provides poor rural families with 40% of their animal protein. However, w ith increases in construction due to the constant growth of the human population, virgin forests are being explored by rural hunters eager for a larger profit. Over-hunting has become a serious challenge to the sustainability of ape populations . Roads that facilitate access to once isolated forests and the increased efficiency of modern hunting technologies all help to fuel the rapidly growing bushmeat trade.

The Victims: Because hunters attack and kill mothers, chimpanzee infants are usually taken in as pets and almost always die shortly after. ©Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

In the equatorial forests of west and central Africa, a ragged army of around 2,000 bushmeat hunters supported by the timber industry infrastructure will illegally shoot and butcher over 3,000 gorillas and 4,000 chimpanzees this year. That’s five times the number of gorillas on Rwanda’s Mt. Visoke and 20 times the chimpanzee population that live near Tanzania’s Gombe Stream. People pay a premium to eat a larger amount of great apes each year than those that are now kept in all the zoos and laboratories of the world.

The presence of gorillas and chimpanzees throughout the forests in Africa is vital to the continuing growth of the surrounding environment. Ape droppings aid seed dispersal and regeneration of previously logged forests. Trees, like the moabi species, have large seeds that only gorillas can swallow, and therefore successfully disperse throughout the forest floor. Without their large populations to roam across large distances, plant and tree species will eventually die out, creating a ripple effect along the food chain.

Efforts to halt the illegal trading of animal products are slowly having an effect. In northern Congo, the Wildlife Conservation Society is working directly with timber companies to halt hunting of protected species, such as apes, by providing worker with affordable alternative to eating wildlife. However, education is the key to ending a process that has already consumed the lives of millions of unprotected apes.

“It is my firm belief that unless we work together to change attitudes at all levels – from world leaders to the consumers of illegal bushmeat – there will be no viable populations of great apes in t he wild within 50 years” – Jane Goodall, primate researcher and author.

The End Result: The skulls of great apes that were killed as a result of the bushmeat trade ©Rainforest Live

State Farm Youth Advisory Board: Primates Podcasts & Preservation

With primates and podcasts, youth will creatively use multimedia technology and other methods to raise awareness (locally and globally) about the fragility of rainforest ecosystems. A focus on the plight of flagship primate species will connect people to the problem of deforestation and foster an understanding of the importance of rainforest preservation and environmental responsibility. Students will create podcasts and a permanent educational exhibit at a wildlife park, conduct school-based presentations, and host a community conservation festival to deliver their environmental messages and calls to action.

Please see: http://youtu.be/40vgfx5pcGo

The proposed project will increase local and global awareness of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation issues  through the use of engaging primate ‘ambassadors’ that assist youth in developing and delivering effective multimedia messages. However, increasing awareness is not sufficient so the podcast, lesson, and exhibit will focus on providing information about effective and practical solutions as well as ‘calls to action’ about how we can each be environmentally responsible. The use of mulitmedia tools as well as a permanent exhibit means youths’ messages will be far reaching, in time and space. For example, practical solutions will be identified (through student inquiry) to reduce our carbon footprint to benefit rainforests in particular and ecosystems in general. Each podcast will offer a different solution depending on what is most appropriate for each flagship species (e.g., don’t use products made with palm oil when considering Orangutans and their ecosystems).

This project is currently being conducted on the DuMond Conservancy facilities with the help of students at TERRA Environmental Institute.