Primates trafficked from DRC recovered in Zimbabwe

Posted by Imogen Searra on 15 September 2020

Approximately 29 primates were illegally trafficked from The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and intercepted in Zimbabwe on September 10.

Four men have been arrested in connection with the illegal trafficking, according to AFP. The men were apprehended during a routine border post check. They were attempting to enter into Zimbabwe in a truck.

Tinashe Farawo, a spokesman for the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) told AFP that the apes are in custody and are being cared for before being sent back to DRC.

The DRC is one of the last remaining havens for apes like the eastern lowland and mountain gorillas, which are both listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List.

In April, twelve wildlife rangers from the DRC, who became an internet sensation for their selfies with the gorillas under their care, were ambushed and killed.

The 12 men were among 17 people killed in Virunga National Park situated in the DRC. Officials called it one of the park’s worst massacres in recent history. A Rawandan rebel group were responsible for their deaths.

Read: World wildlife populations declined by 68% since 1970

WWF’s Living Planet Report revealed an average decline of two thirds in wildlife populations since 1970. The harrowing reality is a result of environmental destruction, such as deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and the illegal wildlife trade – which contributes to virus outbreaks like COVID-19.

The Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), shows that factors believed to increase the planet’s vulnerability to pandemics – including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife – were also some of the drivers behind the 68 per cent average decline in global vertebrate species populations between 1970 and 2016.

Image credit: Unsplash

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