Past outbreaks of the Ebola virus have devastated chimpanzee and gorilla populations in Africa, and future zoonotic crises could further threaten the survival of these already endangered species. Ebola has a 95 percent mortality rate among gorillas — compared with roughly 50 percent for humans — according to the World Health Organization. Do newly developed vaccines offers hope for great apes, or are there better alternatives such as banning the consumption of bushmeat?
An orphaned male chimpanzee discovered in a military camp in northern Democratic Republic of Congo was confiscated by Congolese wildlife officials this week and transported by United Nations peacekeepers to a rehabilitation centre in South Kivu.
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) strengthened its ability to tackle orangutan conservation in Borneo through the addition of two organizations that increased the partnership to 102, following a vote by the GRASP Executive Committee.
GRASP welcomes the Orangutan Appeal UK, which works to protect orangutans and their habitat and provides direct support to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, and the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program, which engages local communities and governments in the conservation of critical wild populations in West Kalimantan.
The Illegal Trade in Great Apes: Webcast Episode 03
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) welcomed the recent arrest of Guinea’s former wildlife director, who is believed to have played a key role in illegally exporting hundreds of chimpanzees and other endangered wildlife from the West African nation beginning in 2008.
Organized crime and the illegal trade in natural resources continues to increasingly fuel the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) , according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners.
The Government of DR Congo, supported by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – the largest UN peacekeeping mission with 20,000 uniformed personnel – is confronting not only a political insurgency but an increasing number of illegal operations conducted by militarized criminal groups with transnational links involved in large-scale smuggling and laundering of natural resources.
A United Nations report says sustainable bushmeat harvesting is possible, but only if governments combine new mechanisms for monitoring and law enforcement with new management models, such as community-based management or game-ranching. Finding alternate means of livelihood for residents of forests and other wild lands also will help conserve vanishing species.
If not, the rapid depletion of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals – including great apes in both Africa and Asia – will continue to gain pace as a result of the illegal trade in the meat and other parts of wildlife.
The report, “Livelihood Alternatives for the Unsustainable Use of Bushmeat,” was prepared for the Bushmeat Liaison Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with assistance from the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC and financial support from the European Union.
Download Report [PDF, 1mb]
Faced with “Empty Forests,” Experts Urge Better Regulation of Bushmeat Trade
Nairobi – A growing and lucrative illegal international commercial trade in the meat and other parts of wild mammals, birds and reptiles (‘bushmeat’) is causing widespread loss of biodiversity, imperilling the livelihoods of communities around the world, and destabilising fragile tropical forest ecosystems, say experts at an international conference in Kenya called to discuss the crisis.
There is also a growing domestic trade in bushmeat between rural areas and urban markets, mostly for food. The resulting ’empty forest syndrome’ is increasingly threatening food security, in particular in Central Africa. Stemming the loss of forest fauna will require coordinated action between international actors working on forest and wildlife management, conservation of biodiversity, wildlife trade regulation, law enforcement and health officials, concluded a meeting of experts on the bushmeat trade.