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AZA Ape Tag Conservation Initiative

A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.



Geographic Location

Africa and Asia

Focal Species

Chimpanzee, western lowland gorilla, eastern gorilla, Bornean orangutan, Sumatran orangutan, Western Bornean orangutan, white-bearded gibbon, Cao vit gibbon

IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species

Endangered or Critically Endangered

About the Project

Apes—bonobos, chimpanzees, gibbons/siamangs, gorillas and orangutans—are found in 120 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. The primary mission of the AZA's Ape Taxon Advisory Group (Ape TAG) is to coordinate the management of these five taxa within AZA zoos. 

Specifically, the Ape TAG works with the individual ape Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs to ensure that ape populations in accredited zoos are properly managed to secure their long-term future and physical and psychological health. 

Additionally, the Ape TAG makes recommendations for how ex situ populations of apes may most effectively serve as ambassadors to educate zoo visitors and contribute to the conservation of their wild counterparts. 

Project Mission: To increase the role of zoos in ape conservation by providing long-term, sustainable funding to ongoing projects.


2014 – 2016 Grant Recipients are:

Using Teacher Training Workshops to Conserve Kibale National Park’s Chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte schweinfurthii) Population
Organization: UNITE for the Environment Program
Location: Uganda

Protection of West African Chimpanzees in Sapo National Park
Organization: Wild Chimpanzee Foundation
Location: Liberia

Western Lowland Gorilla
Combining Site-based Initiatives and Collaborative Partnerships to Strengthen Conservation Policies and Local Leadership to Ensure the Long-term Survival of Gorillas in the Northern Congo
Organization: Goualougo Triangle Ape Project
Location: Republic of Congo

Eastern Gorilla
Protection and Monitoring of the Virunga Mountain Gorilla Population
Organization: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Location: Rwanda

Bornean Orangutan

Securing Orangutan Survival in a Mosaic Landscape KinabatanganOrganization: HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program (WPZ Partner for Wildlife)

Location:  Malaysia

Sumatran Orangutan
Advocating the Protection of the Leuser Ecosystem
Organization: PanEco Foundation – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP)
Location: Indonesia

Western Bornean Orangutans and White-bearded Gibbons
Preserving Apes and Building Capacity Using Participatory Monitoring of Ape Populations Across Complex Ecological Landscapes
Organization: Gunung Palung Ape Ecology and Conservation Project
Location: Indonesia

Cao Vit Gibbon
Empowering Stakeholders to Conserve the Cao Vit Gibbon
Organization: Fauna and Flora International
Location: Vietnam


Apes at Woodland Park Zoo

African apes are represented by western lowland gorillas in the zoo’s Tropical Rain Forest, while siamangs and orangutans represent the apes of Asia in our Trail of Vines exhibit. 

To learn more:

Read the gorilla fact sheet

Read the siamang fact sheet

Read the orangutan fact sheet