Target: United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron
Goal: Create wildlife guard to protect large population of chimpanzees from poachers and hunters
A large population of chimpanzees on the border of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic is threatened by poachers and rogue militia. The Bili-Uele forest contains thousands of chimps, perhaps tens of thousands, creating what scientists call a “mega-culture”.
A mega-culture presents fascinating research possibilities because the chimps exhibit complex social organization. The chimps have unique habits such as hunting large cats, like leopards, and eating snails which they smash on rocks to break through the shells. The chimps have also been seen traveling in gangs, building ground nests much more often than other chimps, and teaching their young to use tools to eat insects.
The chimps coexist in a largely untouched forest that is home to a diverse range of other species including forest elephants, olive baboons, spotted hyenas, guinea fowl, red river and giant forest hogs, and aardvarks. Because there has been virtually no human interaction with the forest, there is an incredible range of species to study. The mega-culture of chimps also presents an interesting intersection between sociological and biological research.
However, all of this opportunity is irrelevant if the forest and the chimpanzees are not protected. Chimps are often sold as “bushmeat”, which is now a booming commercial industry in DRC. Thus, even though chimps are officially recognized as endangered in DRC, there is a very real threat that poachers and rogue armies, like the Lord’s Resistance Army, will destroy and annihilate the unprotected chimp population.
David Cameron will soon be hosting a summit on the illegal wildlife trade with over 50 nations, including all African states. Sign to encourage him to create a wildlife guard to protect these chimpanzees’ habitat by setting up roadblocks against poachers.
Dear Prime Minister David Cameron,
The Bili-Uele forest in Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a mega-culture of chimpanzees that desperately needs protection. This largely untouched forest presents countless research opportunities for scientists, but that data will be lost if poachers, “bushmeat” hunters, and rogue militia are not stopped.
At the upcoming global summit with all African nations to remedy the illegal wildlife trade, it is imperative that you propose new protections for the chimp population. At the very least, 20 wildlife guards need to be able to set up roadblocks and scout the forest to stop poachers and other hunters.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ikiwaner via Wikimedia Commons