We select our initiatives with great care, looking in each for a pressing need and a genuine opportunity to catalyze change. We work with a wide network of partners to protect wildlife and habitats in culturally appropriate ways while promoting cooperative best practices to accelerate conservation success. Current priorities include: Asian elephants in Cambodia, great apes in Central Africa, marine turtles in the Eastern Pacific, and threatened trees in key landscapes globally and here in the United States.
Cambodia’s deforestation rate is among the world’s highest, placing its forests under severe pressure. Tuy Sereivathana (Vathana) leads our work in Cambodia to conserve the Prey Lang Forest and threatened species such as the Asian elephant. Vathana is internationally recognized for his community-based elephant conservation efforts, mitigating human-elephant conflict while improving rural livelihoods. He received the Goldman Environmental Prize and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Myriad threats—poaching, habitat loss, civil conflict—place great apes at risk. We have worked with partners in Central Africa for over 20 years, and this year we expand our historic focus on mountain gorillas to deepen community engagement in eastern lowland (Grauer’s) gorilla and chimpanzee conservation with Primate Expertise (PEx), a Congolese NGO. Our long-time colleague Dr. Augustin Basabose is founder and director of PEx, and we look forward to helping accelerate his collaborative work in and around Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Worldwide, marine turtle populations face severe threats from the poaching of turtle eggs, incompatible coastal development, and destructive fishing practices. The eastern Pacific is recognized globally for its marine turtle habitat and is home to vulnerable and endangered species such as hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley, and green turtles. With the El Salvadorian NGO ProCosta, we are working to protect key nesting sites, strengthen sustainable community tourism initiatives and fishing practices, and advance scientific knowledge of hawksbill marine turtles to improve conservation efforts.
A wide variety of tree species covers the globe—and an estimated 10,000 of these are in danger of extinction due to over-harvesting, habitat loss, and the effects of climate change. Though trees provide cultural, economic, and ecological value, too few threatened species are subject to targeted conservation action. In response, we are developing partnerships to increase awareness of and capacity to effectively protect trees. This includes work with talented botanists like Dr. Steven Brewer, key botanical institutions and universities to lift the profile of trees, build botanic capacity, secure much-needed support, and catalyze action for better protection on the ground.