Since the missions carried out jointly with our partners LWIRO, COPHEG, APPACOL-PRN / Héritier Mpo, in order to support the environmental authorities of Bas-Uele and Sankuru in apprehending poachers, 25 primates have been confiscated and are awaiting transfer to J.A.C.K., our Rehabilitation Center in Lubumbashi.
Also, throughout this mission, we witnessed horrors in the provinces of Bas-Uélé and Sankuru that put us on alert.
Yes, you can probably guess, a primate’s leg! And not just any thigh, a chimpanzee thigh!
Chimpanzees are fully protected on paper since 1982 by the laws in force in our country. The reality is quite different, entire families are decimated either to be eaten (illegal bushmeat trade) or to steal their babies in order to sell them fraudulently in the Middle East and Asia to feed the exotic pet industry.
The smoked thigh of an adult chimpanzee is offered for sale for 55,000 Congolese francs ($25). When we ask the seller where the head, hands and feet are, we are told that this is reserved for hunters to make fetishes!
All this is obviously formally prohibited! But, in addition, people who eat chimpanzees, as is the case in our video, are exposing themselves and those around them to the transmission of dangerous diseases, including the Ebola virus.
This is the story of a traumatized chimpanzee, a story similar to those of so many other chimpanzees, who perhaps were not rescued:
“I was living peacefully with my family in my group in an amazing forest, a paradise on earth. I was playing with my 8 year old brother when suddenly unknown noises and strange shapes surrounded us. They had long glowing sticks and started killing my whole family. Except my brother and me. My mom was on the ground. She wasn’t moving and was covered in blood. It was as if time had stopped…
These strange shapes wanted to take my brother and me away. And at that moment, my brother put himself between them and me to protect me; he was immediately decapitated.
What was going on? What was going to happen to me without my family? I couldn’t leave my mom or my brother. I screamed with fear and grief and clung to my mother’s body with all my strength, crying for her to come back.
But this did not please the forms that surrounded me. They decided to take me away and by tearing me from my mom’s inert body, I managed to take a few hairs to keep her with me always.
Then I was put in an object to be transported. There was no air, no light… I was scared, hungry, thirsty, I didn’t know where they were taking me. It was moving in all directions and there was also a lot of noise. The only comfort I had was to feel the hairs I had pulled out of my mom’s neck. I sniffed them and remembered her smell, her cuddles, her kindness. Where were you little mommy? What was I going to do without you?
Finally, I was taken out of this strange object and a vine was tied around my waist to tie me down.
The sun rose to the sky several times until green shapes approached me to hand me a banana. I didn’t understand anything anymore. Are they good guys? Are they bad guys? If I was finally getting food, it was probably because these green shapes wanted to help me. I was so hungry. I missed my mom so much. The time had come when I had to choose between feeding myself or letting go of Mom’s hair, the only thing I had left of her…I chose to survive!”
We congratulate and thank the ICCN (wildlife authority) of the Lomami National Park for having arrested these poachers and for having seized this baby which is destined to be transferred to J.A.C.K. along with the other primates mentioned above.
As you can understand, a very expensive rescue mission is underway to bring these survivors of the illegal bushmeat and exotic pet species trade to J.A.C.K. They really need you.
Be their pillar that will give THEM the strength to take the second chance that J.A.C.K. is trying to offer THEM.
For THEM, THANK YOU!