As much as ten tons of African bushmeat, from endangered species such as chimpanzees and gorillas, may be sold in London every day. So much is being sold that some African countries hardly have any animals left to poach. Despite recent efforts to save the great apes, there?s a great danger that they may soon become extinct in the wild.
A new English TV documentary called ?No Hiding Place? follows Karl Amman, a Swiss national who has spent the last eight years in central Africa, in the border area between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He investigates the bushmeat trade and has discovered that the number of wild chimpanzees in the region is down to about 200,000. There were several million chimps there in the l960s.
The film says, "Forest people have hunted here for generations. The harvest was for subsistence, ranging from elephants, apes?down to smaller mammals. Hunting for the local pot had no impact on numbers. But now they are being hunted for hard cash, and it's all-out slaughter."
Part of the problem is that, due to the "insatiable overseas demand for hardwood," logging companies cut down trees in formerly isolated forest areas, forcing the animals that live there into ever tighter spaces, where they make easier targets, ?like shooting fish in a barrel.? One shot shows a group of three adult and two infant gorillas killed together. There is a huge urban market for bushmeat, where it?s sold openly.
Many of the buffalo in and almost all the elephants in Central Africa have been killed for bushmeat. Now that they?re scarce, the chimpanzees are being destroyed.
Primatologists think they may have discovered a new species of chimp in the area, with a different bone structure and culture from other chimps. But just when they?re about to announce this major new discovery, the chimps are all being killed off.
The bushmeat trade is organized. Couriers bring the meat from Africa and distribute it on the black market in many European capitals. It?s estimated that 10 tons a day arrives in London?s Heathrow airport. It?s sold without any health inspections, and could contain foot-and-mouth disease, anthrax, Ebola, TB or cholera. It?s often in terrible condition when it arrives, but is quickly snapped up anyway.
Who is buying and eating all this bushmeat? It?s likely to be African immigrants, who may believe (as some Chinese do) that eating certain animals conveys desirable traits to the person who eats them. It?s hard to imagine eating a plate of gorilla?most of have a tough time eating sushi.
See news story ?Missionaries Responsible for Bush Meat?, click here.
Don?t eat them, communicate with them. Learn how to do it by reading ?Is Your Pet Psychic?? by Richard Webster,click here.
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