Chimpanzees and Bushmeat 101
Raising awareness is a powerful means of creating change, especially in this day of global communication. If you educate yourself about the bushmeat problem and help spread the word, then you will be making a meaningful contribution to the fight to save chimpanzees and other endangered species. Below are some key facts, plus sources for any point you want to explore further.
- The commercial bushmeat trade is the large-scale killing of wild animals, including endangered species such as chimpanzees, for profit.
- It is one of the most serious threats to chimpanzees.
Read an outline of threats with references and further reading list: Great Ape Survival Project
- Many chimpanzees live in forests where logging companies work.
You can see this and explore other datasets in the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force Interactive Mapper.
- As logging companies cut out roads in virgin forest, hunters, many armed with guns, are able to drive in.
Learn more about the commercial hunting of apes in logging concessions.
- In some areas where great apes live, an influx of laborers means smoked ape meat becomes a commodity like never before.
You can learn about the role of local traditions and beliefs, which in some cases have protected apes, in the World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation, page 227
- Hunters can have devastating effects on local ape populations.
Get the U.S. public policy perspective: Congressional testimony of US Fish & Wildlife Service (2002)
- Eating wild meat has become a status activity for wealthy city dwellers.
The slaughter of 4 gorillas in Congo is the news hook for this 2007 analysis of the bushmeat crisis in Newsweek: Cry of the Wild
- But it is illegal to kill and consume endangered species including chimpanzees.
Go straight to the source: appendix I of CITES, the international treaty which outlaws trade in great apes.
- Bushmeat is a public health problem. Because diseases can travel between humans and chimpanzees, everyone is at risk -- even the consumer.
A recent Wildlife Conservation Society investigation unearthed simian foamy virus in bushmeat smuggled into New York City.
- “Addressing the bushmeat crisis requires a diversity of approaches, from conducting anti-poaching operations to educating children about the importance of biodiversity and sustainability.”
The go-to source for information about bushmeat: The Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, of which JGI was a founding member.
- JGI works to help communities develop sustainable livelihoods that reduce pressure on the forest -- and its inhabitants.
One method of addressing this challenge is helping communities find alternative protein sources. We also work to educate communities about the importance of biodiversity, including chimpanzees.
Did You Know?
Hunters will take babies after killing their families and try to sell them on the black market as pets. JGI works with authorities to put the confiscated babies in sanctuaries.
Read about JGI's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabiltation Center in the Republic of Congo.