I had the very great privilege of working with rescued primates in Cameroon at the Limbe Wildlife Centre. Whilst there I cared for 4 young chimpanzees, all rescued from the illegal bushmeat or pet trade. I think this is Ilor, a lovely little chimp.
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.
Taken with Nikon D50 using 18-55mm lens