Save Apes from Merciless Smugglers

Target: Sherif Ismail, Prime Minister of Egypt

Goal: End the cruel practice of kidnapping, imprisoning, and exploiting apes for profit.

Drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human trafficking: these horrid crimes receive swift attention and harsh condemnation from most law enforcement agencies. Yet every day, criminal enterprises reap riches from an equally repulsive crime: ape smuggling. The criminal pipeline running from central Africa to southeast Asia brims with beaten, woefully mistreated, and stolen chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and many more primates. Egypt stands as Grand Central Station – a conduit between these animals’ homes and the buyers who seek to profit from their exploitation.

Despite more stringent international regulations aimed at curtailing the smuggling of apes and similar ‘exotic’ animals, several factors help keep this inhumane practice thriving. For one, corruption among officials who may ‘look the other way’ for the right price remains rampant. Even individuals caught with smuggled animals in Egypt often receive just a warning or a small, ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ penalty. Another major issue in the Egyptian trade revolves around the lacking oversight at centers where smuggled apes are often harbored before continuing on their harsh journey.

While these loopholes and insufficient measures continue, daily more apes face a cruel life away from their families and their forested homes. They are drugged, flogged, deprived of basic nutrition, and forcibly trained to perform stunts like playing drums or boxing. A vast majority of the kidnapped are young apes, even infants, as these more compliant animals carry a higher price tag, upwards of $150,000. The more endangered the animal, the better the profit margin as well. Once the kidnappers unload their ‘cargo,’ the frightened apes then face a life of isolation and captivity in an unscrupulous zoo at best or further abuse and eventual death at worst.

Sign this petition and urge Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to provide better protection for Africa’s unique, beautiful wildlife and punishment for those who exploit this beauty for private gain.


Dear Prime Minister Ismail,

Africa’s wildlife and landscapes are unparalleled in beauty. Yet a harsh black scar runs across the land, and it carves its deepest path through your country. The illegal ape trade is a vast criminal enterprise – among the top five such enterprises in the world – that merits the same condemnation and diligence as other crimes against nature and humanity.

Implementing harsher penalties for smugglers and unscrupulous officials who are the allies and partners-in-crime of these criminals would send a strong, impactful message that such vile offenses will not be tolerated. Further, stronger attention to standards set forth by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species could curtail the number of smuggled apes that are held at facilities with little oversight or licensure requirements.

The effort to create more rescue centers where confiscated apes can find shelter is promising and will hopefully continue, but more action is urgently needed. Make the ape smuggling trade a top priority, strengthen your regulatory standards and punishments for such crimes, and – most importantly – help ensure that the endangered species that call your lands home continue to contribute to Africa’s unique beauty for centuries to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brent Moore

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  1. Jennifer Day says:


  2. Money is the root of all evil!. Wait, no it’s actually humans, disgusting humans. Get a regular job and stop hurting any and all animals!

  3. Gigi Middlebrook says:

    This is disgusting and despicable even for humans. Get these POSs and throw them away with the trash that is even too good.

  4. gabriela torres says:

    Dear Prime Minister Ismail,

    End the cruel practice of kidnapping, imprisoning, and exploiting apes for profit.

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