Until the late 20th century, apes were hunted for subsistence at sustainable levels in west and central Africa. Then the foreign timber-logging companies arrived. Suddenly, roads were carved deep into once pristine patches of forest, giving hunters unprecedented access to the wildlife there. Logging companies soon began paying local inhabitants to hunt for meat to feed their employees, supplying them also with guns and ammunition.
Today, the slaughter of apes—including gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos—as well as other forest animals, such as elephants—is driving many species to the brink of extinction. New roads also make it easier to transport these illegal meat products to local markets, fostering illicit trade and fueling the current crisis.
In fact, the bushmeat crisis was one of the main reasons the Forest Health Alliance was established. For an in-depth perspective, please read The Demise of the Great Apes of Africa, by the organization’s founder and president, Dr. Kerry Bowman.
Jane Goodall Foundation – Bushmeat Trade
The most notorious threat facing chimpanzees and other great apes across Africa is the bushmeat trade and it’s pushing already fragile great ape populations to the brink of extinction.
The Bushmeat Crisis Task Force
A consortium dedicated to the conservation of wildlife populations threatened by commercial hunting.
The Bushmeat Project
Launched by Dr. Anthony Rose to help the people of west and central Africa develop alternatives to consuming bushmeat.
In the rainforests of Cameroon huge numbers of gorillas and chimpanzees are in danger of becoming eaten into extinction. Bushmeat chronicles the efforts of bio-ethicist Dr. Kerry Bowman and an international team including pre-eminent primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, who are collectively committed to stopping the slaughter.
Photo by Brent Stirton. BUKIMA, VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, EASTERN CONGO – JULY 24: Conservation Rangers from an Anti-Poaching unit work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorrillas killed in mysterious circumstances in the park, July 24, 2007, Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. A Silver-Back Alpha male, the leader of the group was shot, three females were also killed. Two of the females had babies and the other was pregnant. The two babies were not found and it is thought that they will have died of stress and dehydration. The motivation for the killing is not known but it is suspected that there are political motivations. The local illegal Charcoal industry clashes with conservation efforts in this very poor area and Rangers have been threatened, tortured and killed as a result of this clash of political and economic wills. Over 100 Rangers have been killed in their efforts to protect the Gorrillas of Virunga, one of the world’s most endangered species. The Congolese Rangers in this particular group are working with Wildlife Direct, a Conservation organisation. The Rangers receive a salary based on donations to Wildlife Direct and perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the world of wildlife conservation. The DRC has the highest toll of human casualties of any country since the second world war, a figure in the region of 4.6 million dead as a result of war and resultant displacement, disease, starvation and ongoing militia violence.