05 20/05/2011

Frontline Fun for Ape Conservation

Chester Zoo staff have been inspired to go wild to raise funds and awareness for the EAZA Ape Campaign, which benefits the Kinabatabgan Orangutan Conservation Project (KOCP), our conservation partners in Borneo.

Chester Zoo has pledged to raise €9,999 for this year’s EAZA Ape Campaign. One of the 4 projects which funds raised through the campaign will go towards is the Chester Zoo supported KOCP. The campaign will provide a huge boost to project activities. A little can go along way – €10 for example could cover the costs of petrol for a boat to take a research and reforestation team down to KOCP project sites. In order to raise funds and awareness for the campaign, Chester Zoo has been awash with activity!

In April, Chester Zoo, along with zoos across Europe, participated in Ape Week. Educational talks emphasised the immediate threat of habitat loss to orangutan survival, particularly palm oil plantations. In addition, afternoon family activities included face painting, ape games and education touch tables to encourage young conservationists of the future to engage with wildlife.

May saw films, talks and discussions at the ‘Saving apes: Frontline conservation’ event at Chester Zoo. Ape experts from around the globe gathered to share how primate conservationists are saving apes in the field, as well as the important role the media has in ape conservation. Steve Leonard, TV wildlife presenter, veterinary surgeon, and Act for Wildlife patron, was amongst the speakers.

The very next week saw a team of 15 Chester Zoo Staff and friends take part in the annual BUPA Great Manchester Run. In order to raise awareness a few brave individuals ran in gorilla costumes! Amongst the ‘apes’ was conservation officer, Scott Wilson. "Running 10k inside a gorilla costume was a challenge to say the least…I was very happy with my time of 01:05:01 and delighted to raise funds for such a great and worthy cause.” The crowd high fived the gorillas and their keeper companions as they ran past. The costumed team also featured on the BBC’s coverage of the run. They already raised over £1,500 from the run and anticipate further donations.*

Chester Zoo has been supporting primate conservation for many years, and will continue to do so, particularly through major programmes such as we have in Borneo and Nigeria. The boost that the EAZA campaign provides to projects is invaluable as the apes are under extreme threat.

Chester Zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape conservation programme works closely with the conservation organisation Hutan to support the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP). The floodplain of the Kinabatangan River is home to the largest population of orangutan in Malaysian Borneo. We are working to protect this habitat and all the species in it, including the endangered Bornean Orangutan. Chester Zoo provide core support to ensure the project has the essentials it needs to run a vast range of activities, including research, protection, education and training.

As part of Chester Zoo’s continued support for the EAZA Ape Campaign this year, Isabelle Lackman from the KOCP project will be speaking at an extra FFI evening on Thursday July 28th at Chester Zoo .
*You can still show your support for the ‘Chester Zoo’s Apes’ team please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Apes2011


Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project wildlife wardens

Researchers with binoculars