The illegal wildlife trade is literally a multibillion-dollar industry!
The same type of trafficking that's almost made tigers extinct is now threatening great apes!
Chimps, orangoutangs, gorillas and bonobos are all being plucked from their natural habitats and bought by private collectors or disreputable zoos.
The numbers are cray cray! About 3,000 great apes are illegally traded every year! Half of those are chimps.
A government minister from the Republic of Congo said:
"These great apes make up an important part of our natural heritage. But as with all things of value, great apes are used by man for commercial profit and the illegal trafficking of the species constitutes a serious threat to their existence."
The problem is Africa being so huge, with many corrupt law enforcement officials.
Poachers can get in and out using small airstrips in the African bush.
Not only is poaching decimating their numbers, but the destruction of the great apes' natural habitat is also causing their numbers to decline.
We need to start taking action or else we're going to lose an entire species!!
Save the apes!!
[Image via Peter Halasz/Wikimedia Commons.]
Tags: chimp, chimpanzee, dying, gorilla, great ape, habitat destruction, hunted, killed, poacher, poaching, sad