Chimpanzees & Bushmeat: 101

Raising awareness is a powerful means
of creating change

If you educate yourself about the bushmeat trade and help spread the word about why it must stop, you will be making a meaningful contribution to the fight to save chimpanzees and other endangered species. Below are some key facts plus information about topics you may want to explore further.


Illegal Commercial Bushmeat Trade from the Jane Goodall Institute on Vimeo.

  • The commercial bushmeat trade is the large-scale killing of wild animals. Many of the animals killed include endangered species such as chimpanzees.

  • The illegal commercial bushmeat trade 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 forests, hunters, many armed with guns, are able to drive into chimpanzee habitat.
    Learn more about the illegal commercial hunting of great 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.
  • Hunters can have devastating effects on local great ape populations.
    Get the U.S. public policy perspective: Congressional testimony of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2002).
  • Eating wild meat has become a status symbol for many wealthy city dwellers.
    The slaughter of four gorillas in Congo is the news hook for this 2007 analysis of the bushmeat crisis in Newsweek: Cry of the Wild.
  • It is illegal to kill and consume endangered species, including chimpanzees.
    Go straight to the source: Appendix I of CITES, the international treaty that outlaws trade in great apes.
  • Bushmeat is a public health problem. Because diseases can travel between humans and chimpanzees, everyone is at riskeven the consumer.
    A 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. JGI was a founding member of the organization.
  • JGI works to help communities develop sustainable livelihoods that reduce pressure on the forestand its inhabitants.
    One method of addressing this challenge is to help communities find alternative protein sources. We also work to educate communities about the importance of biodiversity. Read more about JGI's work in Africa.

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 Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo. Watch the video to meet four young victims of the illegal commercial bushmeat trade who are now living at Tchimpounga.

Kouilou, Shanga, Mosengo and Betou from the Jane Goodall Institute on Vimeo.

Take Action

If you want to help stop the illegal commerical bushmeat trade, sign our petition and make your voice heard.



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