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Bushmeat

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This documentary was filmed on location in the rainforests of Cameroon in Central Africa’s Congo Basin, home to the last vestiges of most of the world’s Great Apes. Here, in the second largest rainforest in the world, huge numbers of gorillas and chimpanzees have lived undisturbed since before the last Ice Age. Now they are in danger of becoming extinct.

Even though they are protected by international laws, the chimpanzees and gorillas that make up the Great Ape family are being slaughtered and eaten to the point where their survival is now in question. It seems that in spite of plentiful alternate sources of protein, wildlife, endangered or otherwise, the animals are considered a prized delicacy an even shipped to markets as far away as Europe and North America. While traditionally, Africans have always subsisted on animals or “bushmeat” in the forest, taking only what they needed to live, this practice has turned into a booming commercial trade that is decimating endangered species. It is estimated that at current rates of killing, our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, the Great Apes, will be extinct within ten years.

This commerce is facilitated by international logging companies whose deep roads into the pristine forests of the Congo not only provide easy access both in and out for hunters, but they contribute to the destruction of the animal habitats.

The trade in ape bushmeat represents the worst possible environmental scenario, as it threatens endangered species, damages the rainforest and the ecosystems, and exploits the indigenous people of the region.

Increasingly the urgency of this situation is the link between AIDS and chimpanzees. Now that the origin of the global HIV-1 epidemic has been traced to chimpanzees, scientists believe that if chimpanzees in the wild become extinct, the search for a possible cure or vaccination for HIV-1 is diminished. Thus, the practice of slaughtering the Great Apes poses a serious threat to global world health.

View a printer friendly version of this page...Copyright Date: 2002 Length: 48 minutes Subjects: History/Curr.Ev.;Science/Nature Formats Available:
  • VHS Tape
  • DVD