Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Stolen Apes

5 March 2013

Categories: Primates Campaign News, Wildlife Trade News, Homepage News

Ian Redmond presents the first report on the scale of the illegal trade in great apes to CITES delegates gathered in Bangkok yesterday

This report, produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through GRASP and coedited and presented by Born Free’s wildlife consultant Ian Redmond, highlights the alarming scope of the illegal trade in great apes. An estimated 22,218 great apes have been taken from the wild and entered trade in a 6 year period up until 2011, including a large number which sadly died during or shortly after capture. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, with many more thought to have been taken unnoticed and unrecorded.

A staggering 64% of these great apes were chimpanzees which have been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1996. All great apes are on CITES Appendix I and therefore afforded the highest protection under the Convention, with a total ban on their commercial trade. Formerly this trade was driven as a side effect of habitat loss from deforestation and mining, but according to Ofir Drori founder of the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) in Cameroon “the illegal trade in apes has little to do with poverty, it is instead generated by the rich and powerful “.

Last month Ian Redmond, while investigating for this report in Central Africa, personally rescued a young bonobo being kept as a pet by a local family in Boma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Highlighting “that there is still clearly both a supply and a demand for baby apes, and that the indications are that almost anywhere an investigator starts to dig, he or she will find them for sale”.

For more information, please download the report

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