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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Apes Find Friends in Congress
24 October 2000 7:00 pm
It may sound like small change to some, but conservationists are jubilant over a new multimillion-dollar federal effort to protect great apes in the wild. After hearing how logging and illegal hunting are pushing several species to the brink of extinction, the Senate last week unanimously passed the Great Ape Conservation Act. The measure, already approved by the House and a sure bet for President Clinton to sign, authorizes the government to spend up to $5 million a year over the next 5 years on projects to protect wild chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and bonobos.
Ape programs may not get any cash this year, however, as Congress has already finished work on the 2001 spending bill that covers the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will administer the fund, says Christine Wolf of the Fund for Animals in Silver Spring, Maryland. And even though the bill allows the government to spend up to $5 million per year on apes, supporters will have to lobby hard to convince Congress to appropriate the full amount in the future. Similar funds for elephant, rhino, and tiger protection routinely get no more than $1 million a year. "This kind of support is an absolutely crucial first step, but it needs to be followed up with funding," says ecologist Amy Vedder of the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at the Bronx Zoo.
But chimpanzee expert William McGrew of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, isn't disappointed. Even $1 million, he says, could make a big difference to ape conservation efforts--including basic population surveys--in African and Southeast Asian countries. Primatologist Richard Wrangham agrees. He says relatively small grants can go a long way to support initial surveys where apes have been sighted but never studied.