Primate WATCH Program
The Primate WATCH program was developed by the ARRC Task Force and aims to strengthen the capacity of primatologists from ape range countries, so that they are able to advise and interact with the private sector to improve the mitigation of their impacts on apes. During the year-long program, participants learn about the mitigation hierarchy, the environmental impact assessment process, the various stages and impacts of industrial development projects and associated infrastructures, what constitutes an appropriate baseline survey, and mitigation measures that could be implemented, among other topics. The program is primarily virtual, with a monthly lesson and two in-person workshops that provide an opportunity for participants to exchange more effectively with one another and the instructors, stimulating an interactive learning environment . At these workshops, the training focuses on the practical application of the concepts covered during the virtual lessons. Participants also visit large-scale development project sites and work in groups to assess project impacts, identify gaps in current minimization and rehabilitation measures, and propose ways forward.
To date, the program has had two iterations, one in West Africa (2021-2022) and the other in Central Africa (2022-2023).
Nine primatologists from the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal successfully completed the West Africa program. This programme was made possible thanks to funding from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Eight primatologists from Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo completed the Central Africa iteration of the program thanks to funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) via the United Nations-Great Apes Survival Partnership (UN-GRASP).
ARRC’s Primate WATCH Program is also extremely grateful to the ARCUS Foundation, the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC)/Primate Specialist Group (PSG)/Section on Great Apes (SGA), and Re:wild for their support.