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Outrage over alleged plan to export rare animals from Congo to China

Capture from the wild will put lives at risk and... the zoos concerned clearly won’t be able to provide for the complex health, social and emotional needs of these animals, should they survive capture and transport.

HANNAH SUMMERS: ‘Mountain gorillas and other endangered species from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are at risk of being taken from the wild and exported to Chinese zoos, conservation groups have alleged. A leaked letter from the DRC’s environment minister to a Chinese company, apparently referring to a request for a number of rare species, has sparked outrage from wildlife charity Born Free and other organisations. The correspondence, posted on Twitter by an environmental activist, refers to a request for a dozen mountain gorillas, 16 pygmy chimpanzees or “bonobos”, 16 chimpanzees, eight African manatees and 20 okapi. The animals, all of which belong to species threatened by extinction, were apparently requested for Taiyuan zoo, in the northern province of Shanxi, and Anji Zhongnan zoo in eastern China…

Born Free’s president, Will Travers, said: “We are deeply dismayed by these proposals and fear for the welfare of the animals concerned should – heaven forbid – they go ahead. Capture from the wild will put lives at risk and, in our expert opinion, the zoos concerned clearly won’t be able to provide for the complex health, social and emotional needs of these animals, should they survive capture and transport.” The news has stoked wider fears that huge investment by Chinese companies across large swathes of Africa may be affording China leverage to access and exploit wildlife in order to supply potential markets back home’. SOURCE…

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