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Great Ape Survival Project
GRASP is not the first UNEP initiative to save a specific endangered species. In 1992, the then Executive Director of UNEP, Dr. Mustafa K. Tolba, nominated Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin as a UN Special Envoy for Rhinoceros Conservation in order to stop the dramatic decline in black rhinoceros populations. His role was to urge heads of state to support and initiate action to end the illegal trade in rhino horn. Although the problem of illegal trade still persists, the work of the Rhino Envoy certainly led to a significant improvement of the situation. Thus, in April 2000 during the CITES Conference of the Parties at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, it was put to Dr. Klaus Toepfer, the current Executive Director of UNEP, that a UN Special Envoy for Great Apes might similarly succeed in raising awareness of the great ape problem. Dr. Toepfer immediately saw the potential of such a plan and thus launched the Great Ape Survival Project in May 2001.The three UN Special Envoys for Great Apes, Dr. Russell Mittermeier, Dr. Jane Goodall and Prof. Toshisada Nishida were subsequently announced in July 2001. In addition to the Envoys, Dr. Richard Leakey, the celebrated Kenyan authority on wildlife conservation, was nominated as the project's special advisor.
Tel: (254 20)624163
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