Annette Lanjouw, Arcus Foundation

TITLE: Co-Executive Director

FUNDING AREAS: great ape conservation, in the wild and in captivity

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Now at the helm of the world's largest private grantmaking program to protect great apes, Lanjouw is a world-renowned primatologist who played a major role in the protection of mountain gorillas in war-torn Africa. While has Lanjouw transitioned into her new position, she retains her responsibilities for the Great Apes and Social Justice programs. 

PROFILE: Annette Lanjouw is a highly respected primatologist, having carried on the work of Dian Fossey to protect and steadily restore the endangered mountain gorilla in war-torn regions of Africa. Her work isn't limited to that impressive feat though, as she's fought to protect orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos over her more than 25 years working in great ape conservation. 

Now at Arcus, she oversees the world's largest private grantmaking program devoted to great ape conservation. There she continues to support her long-running efforts to save gorillas, but also works to protect a wide range of species in the wild and in captivity, as well as to build global awareness of the dangers facing the creatures. 

Lanjouw started working at Arcus in 2007, after a two-year stint as international program officer for the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, while simultaneously working with Fauna & Flora International. Arcus, an international foundation with a unique, split focus on LGBT rights and great ape conservation, hired her to head its great apes program right from the start. She's one of the highest-ranking executives at the foundation, overseeing five program staff, and even served as interim executive director in 2012. (She also consults with the LGBT arm of the foundation.)

Now in the upper echelons of a prominent foundation, most of Lanjouw's career has been either working in the field with, studying, or advising on primates, particularly the mountain gorillas of Africa. Her claim to fame, perhaps, is her time spent as director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a partnership to protect the wild mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo. The program continues the conservation work of Dian Fossey, famed biologist who wrote about her life and work in Gorillas in the Mist.

The program has existed in some form since the late 1970s, but was formalized as the IGCP in 1991, at which time Lanjouw was named director. When she took over, the program was studying and protecting a population of only 620 mountain gorillas. In her 15 years as director, the region suffered tremendous violence during the Rwandan Civil War, the Rwandan Genocide, and the second Congo War. Many park workers in the region were killed while protecting the gorillas during wartime. The strife could have easily led to the gorillas' extinction, but today, the population is gradually climbing, reaching 880 in 2012.

Aside from her work with the IGCP, Lanjouw has a great deal of scientific consulting and fieldwork under her belt, including time as a program officer and field director at the Frankfurt Zoological Society's chimpanzee conservation program in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also spent the early 1990s as a consultant to renowned documentary filmmaker Alan Root. 

Her success as a biologist and conservationist has been built on an impressive academic resume, not to mention worldliness important to running a global program. A native of the Netherlands, Lanjouw speaks six languages, holds an advanced degree in behavioral ecology from the Universiteit Utrecth, and a BSc in zoology and psychology from the University of Wellington in New Zealand. She also co-authored a book on the mountain gorilla and co-edited another about our moral behavior towards non-human animal species.

Lanjouw is currently based in Cambridge, UK, where as head of Arcus' great apes work, she can support a range of conservation work even more diverse and far-reaching than her own impressive career. Arcus makes between 30-40 grants in this realm each year for about $10 million, ranging from Florida to Switzerland to Malaysia to Africa. The grantees range from the big and famous, such as $1 million for the Jane Goodall Institute or $2.7 million for Save the Chimps, to smaller grants in support of individual sanctuaries. 

While Lanjouw can be reached by email, Arcus asks all great apes program inquiries go through Marie Stevenson at Organizations can also apply for support at any time here.


Arcus' Annette Lanjouw Discusses Great Apes Conservation Efforts from Arcus Foundation on Vimeo.

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