House Committee Approves Great Ape Conservation Measure
The Jane Goodall Institute welcomed yesterday’s decision by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources to approve a bill that would provide a critical increase in resources for great ape conservation. The Institute applauds U.S. Congressman George Miller (D-CA), a member of the committee, who was lead sponsor of the Great Ape Conservation Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2010 (H.R. 4416) and who played a crucial role in the bill’s approval.
The legislation would reauthorize for five years the Great Ape Conservation Act, which established the Great Ape Conservation Fund, increasing the maximum level of funding over a five year period from $5.5 million to $7.5 million. The Great Ape Conservation Fund provides critical resources to preserve great ape habitat, promote sustainable livelihoods in nearby communities and protect great apes from poachers.
Great apes are facing increasing threats to their survival due to rapidly growing human populations in great ape range countries who lack basic needs, as well as from logging, poaching for the illegal commercial bushmeat trade, human conflict, and outbreaks of deadly diseases such as Ebola. In addition to protecting great apes, increased resources from the Great Ape Conservation Fund lead to more stable communities that are more educated, more prosperous, more invested in protection of their environment, and more resilient to human conflict and destabilizing influences. The Fund has already proven itself to be successful and cost-effective, attracting more than $20 million in matching and in-kind funds.
In January Dr. Goodall submitted testimony before the Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife in support of reauthorizing the Great Ape Conservation Act. The bill now awaits consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives and ultimately the U.S. Senate.