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Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (ACCI)

Large Organization


The Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (Ape Initiative) is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Great Apes worldwide, as well as responsible and
sustainable research aimed at uncovering the evolutionary origins of human language, cognition, and behavior. We aim to use the knowledge we gain from studies with Great Apes to better humanity by increasing public knowledge of our species’ origins and our connection with the natural world.

Non-Profit Description

The Ape Initiative is the only research facility in North America dedicated to the study and conservation of the species most closely related to humans – the endangered bonobo. The Ape Initiative is a federally-recognized non-profit organization - 501(c)(3) - and accredited by the Association of Zoos and aquariums as a Certified Related Facility. Our programs aim to enrich the lives of the bonobos in our care, and increase our knowledge of them, to improve human health, and gain a better understanding of our place in the natural world. Bonobos are an endangered species of African Great Ape with fewer than 100,000 in the wild. That’s why we’re developing a scientifically grounded conservation education program for students of all ages. Our goal is to promote scientific literacy, conservation education, and environmental stewardship, and to inspire the next generation of scientists and educators.

Communities Served

We are located in Des Moines and invite the community to visit our research center, see the work we are doing, and learn more about the bonobos in our care and great apes worldwide.

Why we deserve the makeover

Our superstar, Kanzi, is regarded as the first great ape in the world to demonstrate real comprehension of speech. He can answer questions, describe objects, and even combine words and symbols to convey ideas. At ACCI, we rely on technology to engage with the community, maintain wellness records, converse with each other regarding the apes' well-being, and continue the successful functioning of our organization. The Ape Initiative assumed responsibility of a facility in extreme disarray only six years ago. Since that time, the Ape Initiative has worked tirelessly to stabilize the organization, standardize the safety and management of the apes, and initiate an innovative and sustainable research program, which is costly. Ape care has been top priority, leaving our office technology wanting. An office technology makeover would allow our organization to function more efficiently and further our mission of uncovering the origins of human language, cognition, and behavior.


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