An undercover investigation by Endangered Species International has disclosed the horrific scale of the endangered species market in the Republic of Congo.
The nonprofit found that hunters source 95% of bushmeat around the Kouilou region, one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. In additon to gorilla meat, the investigation discovered the sale of other at-risk species like the forest hinged tortoise, draft crocodiles, blue duikers, and white-bellied pangolins.
Gorilla meat is sold pre-cut and smoked and sells for about $6 per “hand-sized” piece — actual gorilla hands are also available. The group estimated that 300 gorillas are slaughtered each year to be sold at market.
“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,” reads a press release from ESI. “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.”
For more information, view ESI’s photo gallery of their findings.
Photo courtesy of ESI.