Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Born Free supports BBC investigation into chimp trafficking

The BBC has carried out a year-long investigation into chimp trafficking in West Africa.

The BBC’s research, revealed today, uncovered a notorious West African hub for wildlife trafficking, known as the “blue room”, and led to the rescue of a two-month old chimp called Nemley Junior.

See the story on the BBC Website

Reacting to the BBC investigation, Born Free Foundation President, Will Travers OBE, said:

“The illegal trade in live animals for the exotic ‘pet’ trade is sickening and cruel. Specifically, the trade in infant primates, including Great Apes such as chimpanzees destroys lives and threatens the survival of some species. 

“I want to congratulate the Ivory Coast authorities for their resolute actions to try and stamp out this brutal trade and the BBC for their important investigative work which has helped expose the extent of illegal wildlife trafficking in threatened species."

Born Free Foundation Wildlife Consultant, Ian Redmond OBE added:

“Despite being our closest relatives and protected by law, great apes are seen by some as a commodity – a high-value/low-risk piece of merchandise.   The cruelty and suffering of the trade is horrifying – parents killed to kidnap their young, terrified infants shipped in boxes destined for a life in captivity - but as this investigation shows, wildlife law enforcement is being stepped up and the traffickers will be brought to justice."

Sad news about Nemley Jr

Nemley Jr

On June 28th 2017 Born Free learned that Nemley Jr (pictured) had died. Below are the thoughts of Born Free President, Will Travers.

“The tragic death of little Nemley Junior is stark evidence, if evidence were needed, of the brutal and heart-breaking impact that the despicable trade in live chimps in West Africa has on individual animals.

This trade accounts for hundreds of baby chimpanzees a year and has caused the death of thousands of other chimps, as experts confirm that whole families may be killed to secure one infant.

Facilities for the specialised care of confiscated chimpanzees are few and far between and, in some countries, do not exist at all. I hope that Nemley’s demise will encourage chimpanzee range States to agree on regional measures to ensure that any chimpanzee confiscated from illegal trade, as a result of better wildlife law-enforcement, will be sent, as a matter of priority, to such facilities.  

Born Free believes these little, innocent victims of human ego and greed deserve the best possible chance of survival, a good quality of life and, possibly, the opportunity of being returned to the wild.

However, this is not exclusively an African problem - the international community is not without blame. These chimps are smuggled to wealthy overseas buyers as exotic ‘pets’. It is incumbent on governments around the world to redouble their efforts to stamp out all forms of wildlife trafficking and introduce effective custodial penalties to deter wildlife crime.

Furthermore, the 182 member Parties to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which has, hitherto, regarded illegal live trade in great Apes as being of only minor impact, must ensure that there is no hiding place for those who would make their living through misery, suffering and death. Finally, we can all play our part by supporting charities dedicated to chimpanzee care and conservation – part of Born Free’s Compassionate Conservation agenda, where every individual matters.”

Will Travers OBE


The Born Free Foundation


Primates as Pets Petition

We believe that a ban on the trade and private keeping of all species of primates should be introduced across the UK. Please sign our petition against the Trade in Primates as Pets

End Exotic Pet Trade

We need to demonstrate that there is support from European Citizens to end the trade in and keeping of wild-caught animals as pets. Additionally, please do not have your photo taken with exotic or endangered wildlife including chimps

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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