Shadow of extinction hang over chimpanzees

The world risks losing chimpanzees for good in the next 50 years if human beings continued to hunt them and eat their meat, Kenya’s Environment Minister Newton Kulundu warned here on Wednesday.

“In the next 50 years, if the consumption of chimpanzees continue, their life will be extinct worldwide,” Kulundu told journalists at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters in Nairobi.

Kulundu was speaking when he received four baby chimpanzees rescued by UN officials from pet dealers in southern Sudan. They will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Zambia.

The chimpanzees, all male aged four or five, are believed to have originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo where ape meat is considered a delicacy. “It is estimated that over 1 000 chimpanzees were exported from Africa as pets during the past decade.
These chimps are the product of chimpanzee hunting in Central and West Africa,” KWS said in a statement.

Trade in all apes and their products is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). - Sapa-AFP

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