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$500 Reward For Project APE Caches

Carl Jones isn’t monkeying around …

Carl Jones

So keen is the owner of Australian webstore Geostuff to track down his country’s two Project APE caches that he’s put up an A$500 reward (NZ$631) for each.

“These two caches are an important piece of history and of significant interest to the sport of geocaching, so Geostuff.com.au is offering to pay A$500 for each … no questions asked,” he wrote on his store’s website.

Eleven years after GC1058 and GC1412 were muggled, Jones will surely have his work cut out for him. He suspects at least one of the ammo can containers will be gathering dust in somebody’s shed.

For those unfamiliar with the iconic series: Project APE was Groundspeak’s first joint commercial venture, involving the placement of 14 caches in five countries to promote 20th Century Fox’s 2001 Planet of the Apes movie. Each was classified by its mission name and rank, though two of the ammo cans were accidentally named No 10.

To build hype, a special Project APE cache icon was issued, movie props were distributed as FTF prizes and a special website created to explain a theory of Alternative Primate Evolution.

According to Cacheopedia: “The series was released under a tight level of security. The individual players who placed the caches did so anonymously, under the direction of Geocaching.com officials.” Their locations were drip-fed to players; first came clues about the country, then the state before the cache co-ordinates were revealed.

Once the film left theatres, Fox abandoned the project and the surviving caches were eventually adopted out. Today only the original Brazilian hide – GCC67 Mission Four: Southern Bowl – is still active. Examples remain in California, New York, and the United Kingdom but are no longer part of the official series, having been replaced by traditionals.

Of Australia’s two archived Project APE caches:

  • GC1058 Misson 8: Wattle’s Edge was published in Burbank, Victoria on July 12, 2001 but disappeared in October with just 14 signatures in its logbook.
  • GC1412 Mission 11:  Tallow’s Sand was hidden near Byron Bay, New South Wales 22 days later on August 3. Two players logged finds before it went missing “some time before March 2002”,  says Jones (GC handle: iamapom).

Nobody has yet come forward with a lead or actual container but he’s prepared to wait 10 months before declaring defeat. The rewards expires at midnight on June 30 – unless both caches are found earlier.

“Both of the cache containers and their contents went missing in 2001, and most likely have been found by accident and taken home by a local resident, kids or park workers. They may be being used as storage in a garage somewhere, holding junk in the shed or be hiding in a storage unit.”

These large ammo cans were painted dark green and clearly marked with Project Ape ensignia. Easy enough for a greedy con-artist to reproduce if they wanted – a factor Jones considered when setting the his reward. He plans to “verify the authenticity of any container” with Groundspeak and says any cache not in “its original condition with original markings clearly visible” will not be eligible for the payment.

That rules out repainted examples and incomplete containers. “Geostuff.com.au is only interested in the original Project APE ammo-can cache containers. Any attempt to pass off a reproduction/fake as an original will be treated as fraud and reported to the police,” he says.

Should a submission actually pass muster, the A$500 will be deposited into its owner’s bank account within 30 days.

Jones has yet to reveal his plans for the authentic caches, though It’s Not About The Numbers expects they would likely be lodged with Groundspeak for posterity or used as travelling geo-exhibits – much like the Original Can of Beans TB.

*If you have one of the old Project APE containers lurking under years of dust and clutter in your garage – or know of their whereabouts – please email carl@geostuff.com.au.
**How do you rate his chances of finding either cache 11 years on? Tell us in the comments below …

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