Friday, April 15, 2005

IFAW to South African Government: Return Gorillas to Cameroon

One of the 'Taiping Four' infant Western lowland gorillas is seen in an indoor enclosure at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria obviously enjoying his stay.

An animal welfare group criticised South Africa on Thursday for keeping four rare gorillas smuggled out of West Africa at its national zoo rather than returning them to their homeland.

The Western Lowland gorillas were illegally exported from Nigeria via South Africa and to Malaysia's Taiping zoo. Upon discovery of the illegal shipment, the Malaysian government sent them back to South Africa, where they arrived exactly one year ago and were quarantined at Pretoria zoo.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said that by keeping the gorillas, nicknamed the Taiping Four, South Africa was violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

"There is strong evidence to suggest that the gorillas originated from Cameroon and as a member of Cites, South Africa is required to uphold stipulations that illegally confiscated animals should be returned to their country of origin," it said in a statement.

Story here.

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