On May 5, U.S. Ambassador to Lao PDR, Ravic R. Huso, and Mme Latsamay Sylavong, Country Director of IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Lao PDR, participated in a grant signing ceremony.
The $20,000 grant to IUCN is to assist IUCN and its partners, including the Department of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Fauna & Flora International (FFI), to develop a conservation action plan for gibbons in Lao PDR.
Lao PDR has a high diversity of gibbons, second only to Indonesia, with six different species. Gibbon populations in Lao PDR are facing unprecedented threats to their continued survival.
These threats stem largely from deforestation and degradation of their habitat, and negative impacts from hunting, partly for consumption but mainly for the illegal wildlife trade. Not only is a better understanding of the current status of gibbons required, but also wider stakeholder commitment and a more strategic approach to their conservation.
The signing ceremony was immediately followed by the first meeting of experts, representing government, academia and civil society, who will work together to develop the national gibbon conservation action plan.
The U.S. Government is proud to assist Lao PDR in its efforts to protect its diverse wildlife. It has provided assistance to Lao PDR to train park rangers, to develop sustainable forestry projects, and to support the Illegal Wildlife Trade Campaign launched at this year’s Elephant Festival in Hongsa.