Great Apes in Danger

For centuries in Africa, great apes (chimpanzees and gorillas) have been hunted for food and traditional medicine. However, not until recently - with the growth of human settlements and use of firearms – has hunting brought the great apes to the brink of extinction.

Gorilla ( Gorilla gorilla gorilla ) Meat / Terence FUH ©

 

 

IMPORTANT ROLES OF GREAT APE SANCTUARIES

4 logo png web 1Great ape hunters tend to target the adults and sub-adults of a group for food / medicine, while the infants are usually sold as pets to foreigners, hotels or private zoos. While living in these new institutions, orphans oftentimes suffer from poor treatment (i.e. dehydration, malnutrition, physical abuse). With time, mistreatment can lead to illness and even death. Rescued orphans are usually brought to rescue centres, such as the Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center ( Visit their website here ) and the Limbe Wildlife Centre ( Visit their website here ). In these centres, orphan apes usually live in groups, similar to the wild, and often in large forested enclosures. These centres provide the orphans a second chance with a new family.

 

 

 

PROTECTION OF THE GREAT APES IN CAMEROONLaga

For years the protection of wildlife in many central and western African countries has been lacking due to wide-scale government corruption. However in 2002, Ofir Drori, an Israeli activist, created LAGA (Last Great Ape), an NGO based in Yaoundé, Cameroon (visit the website here). This NGO was the first law-enforcement organization established to help Cameroonian authorities arrest and prosecute poachers and animal traffickers. Since its foundation, LAGA has helped in the arrest of one major dealer per week in Cameroon. Based on these successes, replications of LAGA have been created in several African countries.

The two subspecies of chimpanzees living in Cameroon (Pan troglodytes ellioti and Pan troglodytes troglodytes) have been protected by Cameroonian law since 1994. They are categorized as Class A animals, which prohibits hunting, trade and use as pets.

 

 

Jacques

Young Central Chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes troglodytes ) in the Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center / Jacques Guillon ©

 

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