Poaching Threatens Great Apes
Great Apes are being slaughtered for their bushmeat and traded for their parts in the rampant illegal wildlife trade that reaches from Africa and Asia to the shores of the United States. Recently in Oregon two men were arrested smuggling an orangutan skull and other animal parts into the state. Gorillas are Critically Endangered, and an explosion of commercial logging in gorilla habitats means that hunters are using the very same roads that are destroying gorilla homes to hunt them to extinction. Chimpanzees are being hunted to death for their meat and to become parts of traditional medicine. More awful, the illegal pet trade persists, especially for chimpanzees, who are captured as infants, their mothers and family members often killed during the abduction. It is critical that the United States set a precedent for strict wildlife trafficking laws to lead the way and protect Great Apes from disappearing forever.