In Defense of Animals
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Sanctuaries Fighting Back

At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, The United Nations Environment Program's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, reported, "saving the Great Apes is also about saving people. By conserving the Great Apes, we will also protect the livelihoods of the many people that rely on forests for food, medicine and clean water … the fate of the Great Apes has great symbolic implications for humankind's ability to develop a more sustainable future."

The future of Great Ape populations is unique from other species in that bushmeat hunting has surpassed habitat loss as the greatest threat to apes. Modern hunting methods, the development of logging road networks, and migration to expanded urban communities are all contributing factors to the rapid commercialization of the bushmeat trade. Once considered common only in the diet of rural Africans, bushmeat today, especially that of Great Apes, is considered a delicacy [Farmer, 2002]. Though illegal, it is sold at inflated prices and sought after as a prestigious menu item in many large urban areas of Africa and also by expatriates living in Europe.

Five years ago, IDA-Africa drew "a line in the sand" in Cameroon, determined to fight back for chimpanzees. We were certainly not the first to do so, and others have since followed in our footsteps. Together with 18 Great Ape and larger monkey sanctuaries throughout 12 African nations, IDA-Africa is a founder member of PASA (Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance). PASA, formed in 2000, works to promote unity and understanding between conservation centers that care for chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, mandrills, monkeys, and other wildlife orphaned by the bushmeat trade. PASA members serve as the last line of defense in the battle to save some of mankind's relatives from extinction in the wild.

Enlisting the Media to Save Great Apes

After many months of preparation for our radio campaign - writing, revising and testing scripts, and finally producing the spots - IDA-Africa hosted a press conference in December 2002 to formally launch the campaign, which targets the hunting and eating of chimpanzees and gorillas. The conference, opened by remarks from the Director of Wildlife of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (MINEF), was well-attended by journalists from television, radio and newspaper. The conference resulted in two stories - one in English, one in French - on the national television station, multiple radio announcements and discussions, and five newspaper articles - three in English and two in French.

Time will tell if we impact our intended audience - the killers and eaters of great apes - with the radio productions, which include six short spots (one to two minutes) produced in three languages - French, Maka and Bulu. We will also broadcast a four-episode radio drama to rural audiences. To hear an example of the radio spots, visit our Audio/Video page. The spots will be broadcast over a ten month period of time with funding that was generously provided by the Arcus Foundation and the Foundation in Memory of Louise H. Foley. We hope to obtain additional funding to expand the radio campaign, extend to television, and do research to measure impact.

Meet the New Babies








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