This is Mbam and Mayos. I looked after them at the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon. They were both named after the places from which they were taken.
A man paid 75 euros for Mbam. It was not the first time he had seen a young chimpanzee in the forest for sale. Beforehe had not bought the animal and when he came back a few days later the animal had died. He felt he had to buy this chimpanzee to save its life. The Limbe Wildlife Centre never buys animals because it encourages hunters to get more animals from the forest. The man understood this, but he had felt like he had no choice. Just as they were listening to the man’s story, his phone rang. It was the man from the forest, saying that he had another chimpanzee for sale. This is a very sad illustration of the fact that buying animals really creates.
Mayos was seized from a hunter by a missionary family in the forest. She later received 24 hour care from a lovely lady called Sandy. She is now thriving, as you can see from the picture.
The number of chimpanzees in the wild has dropped steadily since 1960. At one time, over one million chimpanzees inhabited more than 25 countries in Africa. Now, scientists think that there are only 150,000 to 235,000 chimpanzees. Only six African countries have healthy wild breeding populations. Chimpanzee habitat has been destroyed to make farmland, to provide trees for the logging industry, and to build roads. Baby chimps are captured for the illegal pet trade.
Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall estimates that for each baby chimp taken as a pet, ten other chimps are killed – one mother and several relatives killed protecting the baby. For every ten babies that take the journey oversees in a small closed crate, only one survives the journey. Do the math on that, and it is 100 dead chimps for each one that makes it to the foreign pet trade – alarm bells should be ringing, but sadly they aren’t ringing loudly or quickly enough.