UNEP Report 2016: Chimpanzees are now extinct in Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo

#PrimatesAreNotPets, Conservation, Environment

[English] Chimpanzees are now extinct in Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo due to illegal trade in wildlife and habitat destruction.

Chimpanzes are essential to the health of the forests. Their partly digested foods (e.g. fruits), travel through the digestive tract before it is deposited with fertiliser. This helps the trees to disperse their seeds more easily.
To prevent the trade, do not support primates being kept as pets.

Although, cute as babies, chimpanzees are extremely dangerous when they reach maturity. Just like us, they can also develop mental illnesses if deprived of their habitat and love of their own species.

Keeping primates as pets is cruel. #KillTheTrade #PrimatesAreNotPets


[Lietuvių kalba] Nelegali prekyba laukiniais gyvūnais, tai jų pardavimas naminių gyvūnėlių prekybinimkams ir mėgėjams, sunaikino Šimpanzių populiacija. Šimpanzės jau pasiekė išnykimo riba Gambijos, Burkino ir Faso, Benino ir Togo šalyse.

Šimpanzės yra ypač naudingos miškams kuriuose jos gyvena. Jų suėstas maistas (t.y. vaisiai) yra iš dalies suardomas virškinimo trakte ir tada deponuojamas su trąšomis. Tai padeda miškui paskleisti sėklas. Nors mieli jų jaunikliai, šimpanzes yra itin pavojingos kai jos pasiekia brandą. Kaip ir mes, jos taip pat gali susirgti psichikos negalumais, ypač jei jos atkeliauja atimtos nuo naturalios gamtos, auga be meilės ir komunikacijos su savo rūšimi. Gamtoje jos gyvena didelėse grupėse, tai vieną šimpanze laikyti, kad ir kaip gerai prižiurint yra žiauru. Šimpanzės – tai ne žmonės, jos ne naminiai gyvūnai.

Siekiant užkirsti kelią tokiam sunaikinimuj, nepalaikykite beždžionių ir kitų primatų laikymą kaip naminiais gyvūnėliais. #killthetrade #primatesarenotpets

Apes, extinction and the bushmeat trade – why they poach?

#PrimatesAreNotPets, Conservation, Environment

The illegal bushmeat trade threatens the already endangered great apes with extinction. But how does the bushmeat trade affect our closest living relatives, with whom we share over 98% DNA? The answer lies with the reasons why people hunt apes.

The Congo Basin, is not only home for apes, monkeys and other animals but also for people. Poverty, war and political unrest force people to rely on natural resources to survive. With lack of opportunities for economic development, people enter the forests illegally to set down traps for small deer (e.g. duikers), bats and rodents. However, the traps may also catch and lethally injure young gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. To have food on their tables, local people use what they can and sometimes have to resort to eating apes. However, many indigenous tribes that reside close to the habitat of great apes, believe that these animals are sacred. So much so that many indigenous legends teach them that gorillas and chimps are their ancestors, that their clans descended from them and therefore, it is prohibited to eat them.

Expanding human population however, dilutes these traditions. Another reason why people kill great apes for bush-meat is status. Some believe that exotic meat is exclusive, expensive and make them gain further importance in their social circles. Just like in the western world, the rich may purchase exotic skin handbags, fur coats or game meat, their traditions are not as different from ours. Lastly, traditional medicine is also a reason why people trade in bushmeat. Consumption of a strong silverback gorilla is thought to allow a man gain the gorilla’s strength and treat illnesses. Lack of education and actual healthcare will push these great apes to extinction.

What can you do? Share this message to spread the word of education. Also, when on holiday, do not be tempted to “try” exotic meats, or support any other trade in primates, e.g. keeping them as pets. Chances are that, the pet ape had its whole family killed and/or sold into the meat trade before the baby was sold as a pet.

I recommend reading more about this in the book:’Eating Apes’ by Dale Peterson:

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Over 70% of all great ape seizures are orangutans

#PrimatesAreNotPets, Conservation, Environment

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The illicit wildlife trade threatens species of all shapes and sizes.

According to UNEP 2016 report, of all great ape seizures, 70% are orangutans.

Major threats causing orangutan population decline are:

  • Forest degradation –  orangutan’s habitat is destroyed vastly by unsustainable palm oil plantations, and their subsequent forest fires, which are used by the industry to clear land for, you guessed it, more palm oil plantations.
  • Pet trade – cute and cuddly when young, orangutans get plenty of unwanted attention. Greedy humans shoot orangutan mothers to steal their young before selling the babies to the pet trade. Because orangutans share 97% of DNA with us and are wildly intelligent, with our genetic and emotional similarities we can only imagine how much pain and suffering the poor orangutans have to go through.
  • Human-wildlife conflict – coming back to lack of land left for orangutans,  orangutans often venture into plantations (e.g. palm oil) where farmers are prepared to shoot and beat them to protect their crops.

These critically endangered orange-furballs are disappearing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that in less than 50 years, they will be vanished from the surface of the earth, if the current rate of deforestation and wildlife trade continues.

Our vague memories of the magnificent orangutans will fade into history as they join the long list of animals that humans have exploited to extinction. Move over dodo and thylacine, lets add a great ape to the list….

Mother’s Day – Primate Mothers

#PrimatesAreNotPets, Conservation, Environment

2016-03-06 11.43.38

Foreword

All mothers are great. They put up with our cheeky behaviours and nurture us when we are unwell. This mother’s day (6th March 2016) occurs during the year of the monkey. Which is why, I will explore, celebrate and attempt to truly understand these wonderful mothers.

Capuchin monkeys (Cebus sp.) are South American primates. These intelligent and charming monkeys have been recorded to use tools and even show cultural differences between neighbouring groups.

Capuchin mothers are attentive and caring. Newborns are totally dependent on their mothers who will carry them on their backs (pictured) until the baby is old enough to explore. Even then, the infant will initially make short trips, carefully discovering the world, coming back to the mother each time. During the first two years the mother will take care of her child with little help from the father. Some capuchin mothers will share caring duties amongst each other.

Unfortunately, many infants will be captured by poachers looking to make a quick profit, taken away and sold into to the pet trade before they can even forage for themselves. Whilst many countries deem this trade illegal, the lack of a definite ban for keeping primates as pets, allows “breeders” to sell monkeys into the pet trade. It is difficult to trace the origins of the monkeys sold into the pet trade and many are still being smuggled into the country illegally.

As “pets” these adorable primates will be dressed in baby clothes, forced to wear diapers and fed human diets. And all this stress, abuse and a complete misunderstanding of the needs that the animal will endure is all because someone said “I want one”.

Think about the angst of the mother when her baby is ripped from her arms. No mother should feel this way. Do not support keeping primates as pets.

#PrimatesAreNotPets

Chimpanzee Population To Halve In The Next 14 Years

#PrimatesAreNotPets, Conservation

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When Jane Goodall first observed chimpanzees in the 1960’s, she reported her ground-breaking discovery of ape tool use. Until then, tool use was reserved as a fundamentally human-only behaviour.  To this, Dr Louis Leakey famously said “We must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human!”

However, despite our best efforts, chimpanzees have become increasingly endangered. Now, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) estimates that in only 14 years (by 2030) Africa can lose 50% of its chimpanzees! The decline is a product of habitat destruction, (illegal) logging, disease transmission, wildlife trade and poaching for bush meat/medicine. If the decline continues, total extinction of apes is predicted.

How can we help protect endangered primates?

Firstly, never support primates being kept as pets. More often than not, they have been taken from their wild mothers as babies, only to be sold in the illegal pet trade. Although chimpanzee babies are “cute”, they belong in the wild. Think that teenage humans are difficult to deal with but teenage chimpanzees are impossible to control! #PrimatesAreNotPets

Do share primate conservation news with your friends. Awareness is everything! Also, support your favourite wildlife conservation charities. The funds help them send scientists to the field, collect more information about the state of wildlife populations and habitats and then use this information to help protect them (often by pushing governments and raising public awareness). Did you know that the mere presence of scientists and their camps in forests help protect the resident species? Poachers are less likely to succeed around camps as regular patrols and surveys disturb their illegal activities. Also, animals have a better chance to recover their numbers there.

Check out these charities and organisations working to protect African apes: