AR-News: (US CA) African ape havens to release more animals into wild

Animalara2003 at aol.com Animalara2003 at aol.com
Thu Jun 10 10:38:47 EDT 2004


ENN

Thursday, June 10, 2004
By Ed Stoddard and Tiziana Cauli, Reuters

 
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Sanctuaries caring for orphaned African apes 
plan to release more of their charges back into the wild in a bid to save them 
from extinction, primate experts said Wednesday. 
"We are getting endless streams of incoming orphans.... We have to reverse 
this process and rebuild the wild populations," said Doug Cress, spokesman for 
the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA).
He was speaking at a PASA conference in Johannesburg, which ended Wednesday 
with a commitment from delegates to undertake the tough task of reintroducing 
more orphaned chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos into the wild.
PASA groups 19 sanctuaries across Africa caring for more than 600 apes and 
other primates, but only three, in Congo and Gabon, have successfully attempted 
to release animals back into their natural habitats. Ten other sanctuaries in 
Uganda, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Congo said they would also now 
attempt to do so.
Time is running out for humanity's closest living relatives. A study unveiled 
at the conference Tuesday said the chimpanzee could be extinct in around 50 
years because it is hunted for meat and threatened by deforestation and disease.
Estimates of wild populations vary but point to some 200,000 to 300,000 great 
apes left in the world. Some, like the mountain gorillas, only number a few 
hundred.
Most of the orphans are victims of the bushmeat trade, their parents killed 
by poachers. The poachers are often caught when they try to sell the orphans as 
pets on the black market, and the animals are then taken to the sanctuaries.
Tough Task

full story:
http://www.enn.com/news/2004-06-10/s_24733.asp 

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