Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bushmeat: This Despicable Practice Continues

Just despicable behavior from those associated with bushmeat. This article gives a slight introduction to it.

More information on bushmeat can be found at http://www.bushmeat.org/ - the website of the group mentioned below - Bushmeat Crisis Task Force

Here are some quick quotes from the article below:

"The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves for its flesh or skin, including snakes, big cats, primates and even hippos. Animals are sometimes used to create traditional medicines, particularly in south-east Asia.

Hunters also target wildlife to feed an increasing international appetite for bushmeat, as expatriates from the region resettle around the globe. A Liberian woman was arrested in New York City earlier this year on suspicion of importing smoked bushmeat, including monkey skulls, limbs and torsos.

"It's an enormous problem that is eliminating populations and whole species of wildlife across the continent," says Heather Eves, director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organization focusing on the illicit meat trade.

It's probably already too late for one primate species, known as Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey. The creature was declared extinct in 2000, although Eves says a few slaughtered monkeys have since shown up on the bushmeat market.”

Article:

Wild animals saved from 'exotic' menus

http://www.thestar.co.za/

San Diego, California - The four new swamp monkeys at the San Diego Zoo have good reason to be a little wary.

The last time they were in front of so many people, they were in a market in the Democratic Republic of Congo, destined for sale as exotic curiosities or else to be fattened up and eaten.

These four Allen's swamp monkeys, along with 30 other Congolese primates at five other zoos, will spend their lives in the US to highlight the illegal trade in bushmeat - wildlife slaughtered to feed hungry families in poor countries - which is decimating populations of many species in Africa and parts of Asia.

"All these little monkeys were bushmeat orphans, their parents and troupes had been killed for bushmeat," explained Karen Killmar, the zoo's associate curator of mammals, who, in an unusual move, bought the monkeys from a middleman who had acquired them at a market and hoped to make a profit by selling them as pets.

The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves, including snakes and hippos
Jane Ballentine, a spokesperson for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which helped to co-ordinate the adoptions, called the acquisition "the right thing to do for the monkeys. This is a one-time-only thing, and we don't want to perpetuate the trade at all."

At the San Diego Zoo, the shy young monkeys, greyish brown and about the size of a cat, took turns exploring their new surroundings. The biggest of the group, a female, emerged from the cover of a small bush and briefly checked out a nearby tree before returning with a pounce to the safety of her cohorts.

The monkeys, all less than two years old, debuted in early May in the zoo's Ituri Forest area, an enclosure named for the woods in the DRC where they are from. The remaining monkeys, representing various species, went to zoos in the Phoenix area, Denver, Houston, San Antonio and Tampa.

Signs to educate visitors about bushmeat will be displayed at each of the monkey enclosures.

It took 13 months and $400 000 (about R2,6-million) to cut through the red tape and import them.

The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves for its flesh or skin, including snakes, big cats, primates and even hippos. Animals are sometimes used to create traditional medicines, particularly in south-east Asia.

Hunters also target wildlife to feed an increasing international appetite for bushmeat, as expatriates from the region resettle around the globe. A Liberian woman was arrested in New York City earlier this year on suspicion of importing smoked bushmeat, including monkey skulls, limbs and torsos.

"It's an enormous problem that is eliminating populations and whole species of wildlife across the continent," says Heather Eves, director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organisation focusing on the illicit meat trade.

It's probably already too late for one primate species, known as Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey. The creature was declared extinct in 2000, although Eves says a few slaughtered monkeys have since shown up on the bushmeat market.

Further extinctions could follow. The impact of hunting on primate species is especially severe because monkeys and apes reproduce at a slow rate and produce fewer young, normally one baby at a time, so killing even a few individuals can hurt a population.

Killmar first learnt of the 34 animals last year when she received a call from a South African businessman who had bought them at a Congolese food market and hoped to make a buck reselling them as unusual pets.

He had exported the monkeys to South Africa and phoned Killmar to figure out how much he should charge for them. After many conversations and a trip with a vet to visit the animals in South Africa, Killmar decided to buy all 34.

"I checked out the story and found that these animals truly were taken out of the bushmeats market," she said.

"We had a unique opportunity to bring these animals into a much better situation here." - Sapa-AP

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More information on bushmeat can be found at http://www.bushmeat.org/ - the website of the group mentioned above - Bushmeat Crisis Task Force

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