Monday, March 14, 2016

Primate Trade in the UAE

Just two weeks ago ten baby Chimpanzees were smuggled into the UAE. Two of them are already dead. These unfortunate little creatures were taken from the wild to fill the demand for exotic pets from people who have large amounts of money but little or no knowledge as to their origins. There are no Chimpanzee breeding farms. These animals were taken from the wild. Their export is totally illegal. So too is their import to the UAE.

To obtain each of these babies their mothers had to be killed. To get close enough to the dead mother to remove the infant it is highly likely that at least three other Chimpanzees were killed trying to defend the mother and baby.

So at least FORTY animals KILLED to provide these ten infants. It gets worse though because you can almost guarantee that around a third of the babies taken never made it to the shipment. They will have died as a result of injuries as their mothers were shot from the treetops or from trauma,  stress and other complications.

The animals who managed to escape will have to deal with a complete destruction of the family dynamics. It will be a very stressful time and not all will survive.

The dead mothers, brothers, fathers and sisters will not be wasted. Their bodies will be dismembered, the heads and hands turned into macabre tourist trinkets and meat sold as bush meat in local markets. Some of this meat may even be smuggled into Europe where it is sold at high prices in an underground exotic meat market.

Baby Chimpanzee do not remain babies for long. Whilst young they have the potential to pass exotic and dangerous diseases on to their purchaser and their families. As they grow older they can become extremely dangerous and will be well capable of killing or severely injuring a human being. What is going to happen to them? They will be locked away in some inadequate enclosure till they pass away…perhaps 40 years later. Or perhaps the 'owner' will try and donate or sell them to a zoo. The zoos do not want them. They don't want all the problems that come with humanised animals which often display severe mental problems.

Then there are the Orangutans. These too are regularly being smuggled into the UAE from Indonesia. For these too there are NO Orangutan breeding farms. They may go first into Eastern Europe where they are 'laundered' before entering the UAE or the rest of the Gulf. There are NO legal Orangutans in the UAE. None…and yet they appear with celebrities in the local press and even attend in pretty little pink frocks at children's parties.

Orangutans do not stay in family groups but for every baby you see in the UAE its mother has died. Often she is shot, sometimes burnt to death and sometimes shaved and sold to cheap Indonesian brothels and tied down to a fate worse than death itself.

There are baby Gibbons too being regularly smuggled into the UAE. Every one of them illegal. Don't be told otherwise. Any paperwork that accompanies any of these animals is forged.

The number of dealers involved in this horrible nasty cruel trade is probably quite small. The authorities need to be made aware of who and where they are. This trade needs to be stopped not just because of the cruelty but because it is hastening whole species towards extinction.

It is possible to repatriate some animals back to their countries of origin and whilst young integrate them with their own kind in rescue centres. They will never see their mothers again.

It matters not at all about how well cared these animals are by the people who 'own' them in the UAE. I am happy they are cared for, loved even, but it does not compensate for the cruelty and loss of life which occurred before these poor little creatures arrived here. A failure to bring the dealers to justice means it will carry on.

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