BOOKS / Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos & Orangutans

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  April 2013:

Stolen Apes:  The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees,   Gorillas,  Bonobos & Orangutans by Daniel Stiles,  Ian Redmond,   Doug Cress,  Christian Nellemann,   & Rannweig Knutsdatter Formo United Nations Environment Programme Free download from  <>

Kenyan wildlife photographer Karl Amman in March 1996 and March 2000 ANIMAL PEOPLE guest columns recounted how the international conservation establishment ignored his warnings and supporting documentation about the emerging illicit great ape traffic.  Only habitat issues were taken seriously; associating the decline of nonhuman primates with hunting and meat-eating,  as Amman did,  was denounced as allegedly exhibiting an unscientific preoccupation with the fates of individuals,  as opposed to species. But Eating Apes,  a 2003 book-length exposé by primatologist Dale Peterson,  validated Amman’s concerns. Stolen Apes is thus not “the first report to analyze the scale and scope of the illegal trade,”  as it bills itself.  It is,  however,  documentation of the continuing failure of conservationists to effectively protect great apes. “Over the past seven years,  a minimum of 643 chimpanzees,  48 bonobos,  98 gorillas,  and 1,019 orangutans are estimated to have been captured from the wild for illegal trade,”  the Stolen Apes authors write.  They project an actual loss of 22,218 great apes. “The illegal trade,”  they contend,  “has shifted from being a byproduct of traditional conservation threats such as deforestation,  mining,  and bushmeat hunting to a more sophisticated business driven by demand from international markets,”  especially privately owned zoos and safari parks in economically rising parts of Asia. “Only 27 arrests were made in Africa and Asia in connection with the great ape trade between 2005 and 2011,”  Stolen Apes recounts,  “and one fourth of the arrests were never prosecuted.” ––Merritt Clifton

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