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More than 300 gorillas butchered each year in the Republic of Congo

During 2008 and early 2009, Endangered Species International (ESI) conducted monitoring activities using undercover methods at key markets in the city of Pointe Noire, the second biggest city in Congo. Findings reveal that 95 percent of the illegal bushmeat sold originates from the Kouilou region about 100-150 km northwest to Pointe Noire where primary and unprotected rainforest still remains. The Kouilou region is one the last reservoirs of biodiversity and endangered animals in the area.

Gorilla hand found at a market in the Republic of Congo. Photos courtesy of Endangered Species International

Gorilla is among many endangered species sold illegally in markets. Gorilla is sold in the form of smoked meat already cut in pieces. A piece of hand size smoked gorilla is usually sold for 2,500 CFA (6 USD). ESI has estimated about 300 gorillas butchered a year for the bushmeat market in Pointe Noire.

Pierre Fidenci, head of Endangered Species International, says that gorilla illegal market trade is thriving in Congo and the mass arrival of the Chinese in search of natural resources will exacerbate illegal hunting for rare and endangered species.

If the present trend in forest exploitation continues in Kouilou, most edible endangered wildlife — including great apes — will vanish within a few years in this region. Examples of frequent wildlife species observed by a local ESI team led by Franck Makoundi, included mandrill, African rock python, spotted hyaena, great blue turaco, Nile monitor, and black-and-white-casqued hornbill.

Endangered Species International.

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