Sunday, May 6, 2012

Primate Poaching

Throughout this blog, I have engaged with topics related to the current state of primates from a variety of perspectives. In this post, I will be addressing the important problem of primate poaching, which has been increasingly visible, from exotic animal trade to hunting practices. For example, can you imagine that between 1995-2002, over 99,000 primates were legally imported into the United States as pets or research animals(Save the Primates)? These animals were plucked from their natural habitat and flown half-way around the world for our purposes. Can we then imagine how much poaching (or illegal "taking/capturing") must be occurring across the world? So, let us explore some of the reasons behind why primates, our closest ancestor, may be poached. 
Conservation rangers and local people are shown in 2007 evacuating the bodies of four mountain gorillas killed in Virunga national park, eastern Congo. Photograph: Brent Stirton/Getty

1. Bush meat - large populations of primates live near marginalized socio-economic areas in the Amazon and Sub-Saharan Africa. During all times, but especially times of economic stress (recession, war, drought), primates may be killed specifically for the purposes of providing food to local, human populations. An FAO report from 2004 claimed that Liberia's bush meat trade is valued at $42 million USD. 

2. Exotic animal trade - the size of the global exotic animal trade has been estimated to be $12 billion USD and growing. Primates are poached from all over the world, particularly smaller, more pet-friendly species from the Amazon, and sold to aspiring pet owners. Western Europe has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the last decade. National Geographic estimates that approximately 15,000 primates are living as pets in the United States, often with inexperienced owners and inappropriate, unnatural diets. 
This infant gorilla was taken to a conservation center after his parents were murdered by poachers 

3. Hunting - sadly, extreme hunting across Africa still exists and caters to wealthy tourists. Whether it is rhinoceros, elephant, or gorilla hunting, this activity is absolutely deplorable and should be controlled by local governments, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009, Uganda made global headlines by re-introducing big game sport hunting "as a controlled activity" outside its conversation zones. Perhaps some pressure from the international community will convince all governments to make every effort to protect their wildlife, especially endangered primate species. 

4. Research and other - finally, zoos, other animal shows, and animal research facilities are constantly acquiring new primates from brokers. Often, these institutions do not care to perform due diligence on where the primate is coming from and in what manner they are sourced. Governments and trade commissions must enact strict regulations to understand the real origin of inbound primates. In related news, the government of India recently banned primate experimentation for training college and university students(Rights group lauds Indian's ban animal testing). Hopefully, these decisions can help to control primate poaching that has accelerated during the last few decades. 

If you would like to donate to Save The Primates please click HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment