Apes on the Menu:
Bushmeat and the Battle for the Survival of African Wildlife
Dr. Anthony Rose, The Biosynergy Institute
San Diego Zoo -- March 28, 2000
At this very moment, every African wildlife species represented in the San Diego Zoo is being eaten for dinner. In Bangui it's elephant steak. In Yaounde it's gorilla fingers. In Kinshasa it's bonobo ribs. In Ouesso it's golden cat, chimpanzee, and tree sloth. To the people of the Congo basin it is a fine feast. To us in North America it is a terrible tragedy.
Across equatorial Africa, from western Cameroon to eastern Congo, endangered animals are being slaughtered and their meat is being sold at a premium in the commercial market place. In 1991 conservation activist Karl Ammann published his first graphic story about bushmeat in SWARA. In 1995 WSPA and Ammann told the European Parlaiment about the slaughter of the apes. In 1996 at a conference in Bertoua I heard leaders of the Cameroon Ministry of Environment and Forests declare that illegal bushmeat hunting was out of control.
For the past four years I have been lecturing and writing about the bushmeat crisis for ASP, IPS, GAWC, AZA, IUCN as well as dozens of zoos, universities, and conservation NGOs. Finally, with economic projections of up to a million metric tons of bushmeat sold in the Congo Basin annually, we are attempting to form a conservation and animal welfare coalition in Washington D.C. -- the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force. If groups as diverse as WWF, HSUS, AZA, and RAN will work together in a united front, the African bushmeat crisis could get the attention it deserves and demands.
Will we turn public and political awareness into comprehensive planning and effective action? Facing the fact that apes are on the menu is hard enough. Getting them off the menu and providing alternatives for millions of people who value wildlife for its protein content is enormously difficult.
Are we jousting at windmills? Can the conservation community win this one? Do we have the talent, power, resources? Or is every ape and elephant, pangolin and duiker, bushpig and porcupine going to be stripped from the forests of Africa and served for supper? On March 28th at 5pm I will answer these questions. Dont miss it.
THE BIOSYNERGY INSTITUTE
P.O. Box 488
Hermosa Beach, California 90254