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PUBLISHED: Jun 17, 2014 7:00am • UPDATED: Jul 18, 2014 07:07pm

Wildlife alliance warns of illicit trade of apes


Source: Bernama Source:

The Great Apes Survival Partnership says the rapid reduction of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orang-utans (pictured above) due to thriving illegal trade is worrying. — Pic courtesy of Wikipedia

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A global wildlife group on Sunday warned of rapid reduction of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orang-utans due to thriving illegal trade, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) said a total of 38 great apes or an average of 1.8 per week have been confiscated in 2014, double the previous year’s figure of 0.9 per week.

“The number of apes being trafficked and confiscated indicates that serious threats remain to this wild populations,” GRASP coordinator Doug Cress said in a statement issued ahead of the 1st United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) to be held from June 23 to 27 in Nairobi.

Law enforcement experts indicate that only a fraction of any wildlife contraband is ever confiscated.

Cress said GRASP and its partners were in the process of building a great apes illegal trade database to track illicit traffic.

All great apes are classified as endangered or critically endangered and are listed as Appendix I by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Unlike wildlife contraband such as elephant ivory or rhino horn, the overwhelming majority of great ape confiscations occur within national borders, and only 5% of confiscations in 2013 and 2014 crossed international borders.

Cress said due to the social nature of great apes, a single confiscated ape could represent many more that died during the actual hunt or succumbed to injuries, illness or mistreatment while in captivity.

GRASP is a alliance of 95 national governments, research institutions, conservation organisations, UN agencies and private companies committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.

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“If there are quarters which say there’s restriction on expression of opinions and views, the RoS can provide empirical evidence that the registered organisations are proof that the government gives such freedom. There is freedom of speech and movement; you can be as vociferous as you want so long as you do not threaten public order. Go on and gather as many members as you want so long as you do not touch on sensitive matters and violate the law, including the Sedition Act.”

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi saying the government has never restricted freedom of speech, pointing out that 116,000 organisations were registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).


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