The Iowa founder of Earthpark and Great Ape Trust of Iowa has signed an agreement with the president of Rwanda. Trust conservation director, Ben Beck, says the agreement has a big goal. He says they want to create a Rwanda national conservation park to connect existing forests and provide re-forestation for open savannas to create additional habitat for the two great apes, gorillas and chimpanzees, that live in the country.
Beck says the park fits perfectly with the work the Great Ape Trust is doing. Beck says they are very committed to enhancing the survival of the great apes in the wild, as all types of great apes are endangered, some critically endangered. “It’s our belief in general, that if humanity can’t save great apes, it doesn’t speak very well for our stewardship of the planet,” Beck says.
Beck says saving the great apes is one of the key goals of the Great Ape Trust. He says they not only do research on ape cognition, but they have a very active conservation program for great apes on three continents. Beck says the proposed conservation park is part of a change in the way Rwanda is run.
Beck says the Rwandan president has done a “remarkable job” in the last decade of getting the genocide in Rwanda behind them, putting it in its place in history and unifying the people in improved quality of life and economic development. He says Rwanda is now positioned perfectly for this type of imitative. The agreement was signed with Ted Townsend, founder of Earthpark and Great Ape Trust of Iowa, and the president of Rwanda.