Biological anthropologist Crickette Sanz, the James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received the 2023 Conservation Award from the Saint Louis Zoo, along with David Morgan. The zoo announced the award Nov. 7 at its 32nd annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration.
Sanz and Morgan serve as co-directors of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project (GTAP) in and around the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Republic of Congo. Their dedication to international collaboration and scientific rigor has shaped GTAP’s trajectory, elevating it to a globally recognized initiative that helps ensure the long-term survival of chimpanzees and gorillas in the Congo Basin.
Sanz and Morgan, a research fellow of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo, have melded their expertise to forge a profound impact on ape preservation. Sanz and Morgan’s field-based conservation activities also have improved the livelihoods of the communities through capacity building and employment as research staff, field monitors and university positions.
In honoring Sanz and Morgan, the Saint Louis Zoo “celebrates a transformative partnership that has reshaped ape conservation,” as noted in its announcement about the award. This year, the Congolese government formalized the protection of the Djéké Triangle, a transformative step toward preserving diverse wildlife and high conservation value forests. The Djéké Triangle’s newfound status within the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park marks a historic triumph for ape conservation, safeguarding the habitats of western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.