Lebanon chimp case exposes traffic
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2006:
BEIRUT–“A recent botched attempt to rescue three endangered
chimpanzees and a baboon who were smuggled into Lebanon has exposed a
lucrative market for exotic animals, flourishing due to lax
enforcement of laws on animal importation and ownership,” opened
Meris Lutz in the April 19, 2006 edition of the Daily Star of
Lutz affirmed in much greater detail the allegations of
would-be chimp rescuer Jason Mier, published in the April 2006
ANIMAL PEOPLE article “A planned chimpanzee rescue is thwarted in
Mier’s claims were also affirmed by Animals Beirut.
“Any chimpanzee held here is being held illegally,” Lebanese
agriculture ministry representative Fadallah Monayer told Lutz. Yet
the three chimps were openly exhibited.
“Emile Hadife is said to have kept Ricardo in a cage outside
a gas station in Antelias and trained the chimp to smoke cigarettes
and drink coffee for spectators,” Lutz wrote. “Baba was kept in a
small cage with the baboon at Mr. Steak restaurant in Sin al-Fil.
Charley, the youngest of the animals, was on exhibition at Tony
Asmar’s Animal City Zoo in Nahr al-Kalb.”
Mier arranged for the chimps to go to Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Eden
Sanctuary in South Africa, “which sent its own delegation to
facilitate the transfer,” Lutz said.
However, when the chimps were to have been confiscated,
“Hadife claimed Ricardo had died the day before, Bejjani said Baba
had died, and the zoo would not give up Charley and refused to say
where he was,” Lutz recounted. Animals Beirut eventually was able
to send the baboon to the Cefn-yr-Erw Primate Sanctuary in South
Ricardo and Baba are still “missing and presumed dead,” Lutz
wrote, while Charley is still at the zoo.
Meanwhile, “A trip by The Daily Star to a Beirut pet shop
confirmed that owners were openly advertising illegal snakes,
monkeys, and chimpanzees they said had been smuggled into the
country,” Lutz revealed. One dealer told Lutz that he had sold
seven chimps, and could get another for $7,000.