Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wild Chimpanzees Threatened in the Congo

Two of my favorite issues are chimpanzees threatened in labs and mountain gorillas threatened in the Congo. Let's combine the two and look at chimpanzees threatened in the Congo.

Because they are in serious trouble there too.
(Warning: Heartbreaking pictures in this link.)
Poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) threaten the existence of the largest remaining continuous population of chimpanzees in the world. This conclusion is drawn by Cleve Hicks, based on observations made during his 2007-2008 survey of towns, villages and forests in the Buta-Aketi region of the DRC. Hicks, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), describes the plight of the apes and other forest creatures in a new e-book to be released this week. Together with colleagues, Hicks was able to take in five orphaned chimpanzees who will soon be sent to a sanctuary in eastern Congo....

Locals have told Hicks that up to a few years ago there was very little poaching (except for elephants) in the area, and that it is the mining of diamonds and gold that has lead to the current slaughter of wildlife. Sadly, there is evidence that the bushmeat trade is spreading rapidly into the Bili and Rubi-Tele protected areas, both of which have been recently invaded by illegal miners. Since Hicks left in November 2008, his colleagues Laura Darby and Adam Singh have observed another seven chimpanzee orphans and 3 carcasses.

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