About Us

What is ARC?

Who are our members and institutions?

How does ARC protect human health?

How does ARC work?

How does ARC provide ethological appropriate environments?

How does ARC currently regulate itself and export samples?





What is ARC?

  • ARC members are on the frontline in protecting human and nonhuman ape health by monitoring and stopping the illegal international bushmeat trade.
  • ARC members educate civil servants, citizens and children in ape habitat countries regarding the dangers of bushmeat from all animals including endangered great apes. This reduces demand and protects human and animal health.
  • ARC members provide rapidly scalable expertise and resources to respond to an emerging disease threat in Equatorial Africa.
  • ARC members also provide expertise and resources for basic and applied research with captive and wild apes. Behavioral, cognitive, neurobiological, genetics research is underway that will inform diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders from autism to Alzheimer's disease. Welfare and conservation research is conducted to help ensure the care and survival of the nonhuman apes we study.
  • ARC accomplishes its research goals by matching world-class expertise with unique research resources for the purpose of studying the mental and physical health of humans and other apes. We bring together experts studying human and nonhuman ape epidemiology, genetics, neurobiology, cognition, behavior and conservation. Through the ARC, these scientists investigate the health of African apes found in modern U.S. zoos, the natural settings of African ape sanctuaries, and apes living wild in protected areas.

How does ARC protect human health?

  • One of the greatest health challenges facing the United States is the prevention of a pandemic. Zoonotic transmission is recognized as driving disease emergence, and recent work pinpoints African apes as the primary source infectious disease risk to humans. A hotspot for zoonotic disease transmission is Equatorial Africa. The consumption of bushmeat provides the most likely route for the emergence of novel diseases, and systematic monitoring of wildlife is key to preventing infectious disease threats to humans and wildlife. Emerging diseases reach the United States through international travel or the illegal trade and importation of bushmeat from Equatorial Africa. ARC researchers and resources are on the frontlines of monitoring and preventing the trade of bushmeat in Equatorial Africa. ARC will be crucial in protecting the U.S. against the threats of emerging diseases in the decades to come.

How does ARC work?

  • ARC provides a nimble and cost-effective approach to health research. Researchers do not maintain animals, but instead are hosted by African consortium members who maintain the populations under study. African members provide and maintain infrastructure that researchers utilize, yet the populations are financially self-sufficient on their own. Health researchers travel to Africa to collaborate with these African stakeholders to collect data, obtain permits, and work with local ministries to facilitate research, protect the health of animals under study, and aid African members in their mission to monitor and control the bushmeat trade. Researchers provide research fees that improve and maintain existing infrastructure, and over the longer term, funding for new purpose built infrastructure for research (e.g. lab or quarantine facilities). Collectively, this system allows researchers to rapidly scale investment up or down depending on short or long-term research needs. It also allows researchers to work from any U.S. institution rather than prioritizing those with primate research centers.
  • All ARC sites in Africa work to monitor and end the illegal trade of bushmeat. This provides an ideal partnership for those studying emerging zoonotic diseases. Disease research is facilitated because the ARC sites are positioned in three Equatorial African countries and in close proximity to major cities and international airports; thus, we have access to existing in situ microbiology and genetics labs and easy transport of samples to labs in the US and Europe

How does ARC provide ethological appropriate environments?

  • All apes in the U.S. are at Association for Zoos and Aquaria (AZA) facilities that are USDA inspected, at African Sanctuaries that exceed U.S. welfare standards by meeting the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) standards or are living in the wild.
  • All captive field sites are run by welfare or conservation organizations that promote natural living spaces and social groups for the apes in their care.

How does ARC currently regulate itself and export samples?

  • All research conducted at ARC sites are approved by IACUC committees at the P.I.'s home institution. In addition, the research must meet the welfare standards at each ARC sites. These in situ committees will not approve any procedure that is not in the interest of the individual animal or in the species more generally. Typically all behavioral and cognitive work must be voluntary and all health research must be in concert with a regularly scheduled veterinary health check.
  • Any shipment of samples from ARC Africa sites requires CITES export and import permits. However, we already have capacity for onsite lab analysis, and this capacity could easily be expanded to reduce the need for exportation of samples while supporting African universities and scholars.