EU Taxpayers Contributing to Wildlife Slaughter & Bushmeat Trade

EU taxpayers may be inadvertantly contributing to the slaughter of wildlife and the bushmeat trade (You could be unknowingly contributing!) The EU recently funded the upgrade of a road in Cameroon that runs from the rainforest into the towns. Before, this road was not easy to travel, however now it provides poachers with an easy route into the rich inner forest. Continue reading

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The Tools of Illegal Trade

It has to be acknowledged that hunting for bushmeat is a long-standing tradition in Africa. However, it used be a staple for men to feed their families, now it has expanded to an organised commercial trade to accommodate large scale workforces (usually of timber logging companies!) and communities in town and cities that choose to eat bushmeat for its apparent value and prestige, even when other food is abundantly available. No great ape species can withstand this huge population decimation for much longer, especially with massive swathes of their habitat being destroyed daily by these same logging companies. Continue reading

Killing Fields: Palm Oil Farming

Even though there is thousands of acres of abandoned farm land capable of reaping crops, Palm Oil farmers always prefer to use already live forests to grow plantations. This is because Palm Oil takes at least 5 years to begin producing, and the farmers use the profit from the timber sales to fund the first few years of operation.

Loss of the forests results however, in the loss of capability to absorb CO2 and convert it into oxygen, which is nature’s way of balancing all other beings carbon dioxide emissions. As well as this, the peat swamps in which the forests grow are disturbed, releasing massive amounts of CO2, alongside the air pollution and even more CO2 released during the burning part of the ‘Slash and Burn’. Continue reading

Orangutan Slash & Burn

Economic crisis and human abuse of the forest has pushed the existence of the Orangutan closer to the brink than ever. They have lost no less than 80% of their habitat over the past 20 years through slash and burn methods to clear land for large Palm Oil plantations and logging.

The illegal pet trade also thrives, as many poachers kidnap baby Orangutans (killing the mother to do so) and sell to people for their entertainment and amusement. However, the babies do not stay cute for long and soon become too large and uncontrollable to stay domesticated. At this point the people will either kill them, cage them in awful conditions, or release them. Even if back in the wild, these Orangutan’s have learnt no skills to fend for themselves or forage for food, and soon end up dead.

Refugees: Stripping Gorilla Habitat

Poaching isn’t the only problem facing the Gorillas in Zaire. Thousands of Rwandan refugees have been living in camps near the National Park, some of them responsible for killing rebel gunmen.

Zairan soldiers tried to force them back into Rwanda, but they only succeeded in driving them into the mountains of the Park, where they have subsequently settled. Here they have already destroyed 18 km2 of the Gorillas forest habitat by cutting down trees for firewood and to build huts etc.

This dangerous political unrest has also caused the number of tourists visiting the Park to decline dramatically, more than halving the income used for the upkeep of the Park such as rangers wages. This could very soon lead to loss of protection for these gentle beasts, and poachers will be free to kill as they please.

Corrupt Ranger shoots Silverback

The Gorillas conservation issue not only rages on in the Congo, but also in Zaire, where earlier this year 2 adults, including the groups Silverback, were shot dead.

The shots came from a corrupt park ranger who had been paid by an illegal collector to capture a young male to sell on the black market. However, the ranger had underestimated the ferocity with which Gorillas will protect their groups, and his stupidity and greed forced the killing of another two individuals in the process. Fortunately the baby was rescued from a truck on the Ugandan border, but losing 2 breeding adult Gorillas, especially a Silverback, is enough to cause a damaging dent in the group.

Humanising Matthew

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Animal rights activists in Austria have been campaigning to get a 26 year-old Chimp legally declared a person, but had their hopes dashed when the court judge threw the case out recently.

The shelter which has been housing the Chimp – called Matthew Hiasl Pan – is to be closed down due to lack of funds. Donors have offered financial aid to help, but there’s a catch – under Austrian law only A PERSON can receive monetary gifts, and as the individuals running the shelter have been declared bankrupt they are unable to receive gifts on Matthew’s behalf. Continue reading