The 26 great apes that disappeared from the Congo have been found alive and well in Zimbabwe. The monkeys had been illegally ‘kidnapped’ by some black traffickers. Four suspects have been arrested.
Congo is one of the world’s last refuges where, among others, the eastern lowland gorilla (a subspecies of the eastern gorilla) lives in the wild. The great ape lives in the lower tropical rainforest of the Congo Basin and is not alone: other great apes such as the Chimpanzee also live in the forests of Congo (-Kinshasha).
Unfortunately, their endangered status makes them a target for poachers and illegal traffickers.
For example, Claude Nyamugabo Bazibuhe, the Congolese Minister of the Environment, reported on Wednesday that no fewer than 32 live chimpanzees had disappeared from the forests of Haut-Katanga, in the southeast of Congo.
Black traffickers allegedly smuggled the animals out of the country with false documents with the final destination to South Africa.
By chance, two men were arrested a little later during a routine check at the border with Zimbabwe. It soon became apparent that the men were transporting some apes with their truck.
“The research is continuing to determine which monkeys are involved,” says Bazibuhe.