PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Pan
African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) – the largest alliance of
wildlife centers in Africa – has
launched its "Not a Pet" petition, demanding that tech giants
Facebook and Google stop enabling wildlife crime. "Not a Pet" is
part of a three-pronged strategy to fight the illegal wildlife
trade that began in January with Action for Chimpanzees (AFC), a
program to curtail poaching of western chimpanzees and prevent
their impending extinction, and continued with the call to close
markets selling bushmeat.
"Wildlife crime is an existential threat to primates in
Africa," said Gregg Tully, PASA Executive Director. "And while
our members are a crucial bulwark against trafficking, they can't
do it alone. We need to hold social media companies accountable for
their role in this heinous trade."
Social media companies play a key role in the wildlife crime
supply chain. Traffickers share videos and images of monkeys and
apes for sale – often as light, fun content that is quickly shared.
When buyers signal interest, social media companies enable the next
phase of the sale by providing private, encrypted channels like
WhatsApp for communication between buyer and seller. This
contributes to a trade involving hundreds of thousands of primates
every year, according to research – and lives of misery for the
unfortunate animals who are the victims of this criminal
Primates are not suitable pets for many reasons. A baby chimp
usually spends the first five years of its life nursing. Without
this critical contact time, primates fail to pick up natural
behaviors, and they may even develop aggressive or fearful
behaviors. But the hard part comes when they reach sexual maturity.
For smaller monkeys, this occurs around 18 to 24 months of age,
while chimps mature around seven years of age. At this point, the
animal will likely become aggressive and territorial. In an effort
to contain adult primates, owners often resort to locking their
"child" up in a tiny cage, filing their teeth or having them
removed, forcing them to wear shock collars, or even beating them.
When these tactics fail to control their adult primate, owners are
forced to give up their pet or risk their safety.
"Internet markets can be much larger than physical markets,"
said Dan Stiles, head of the Project
to End Great Ape Slavery (PEGAS) and a leading researcher tracking
wildlife crime. "Thousands of buyers located in many countries can
be involved. That's why the Not a Pet petition is so important. We
have to bring social pressure to these companies so that they have
an incentive to enforce their policies or develop stronger
- There are fewer than 300,000 chimps left in the wild.
- Wildlife crime is the fourth largest type of international
- In 2015, the primate trade volume was estimated at $138M, a 40% increase over three years.
- The United States has remained
the largest importer of live primates since 2009.
- Wild chimpanzees are already extinct in four of their former
African range countries
- Chimps and other primates are killed for bushmeat and sold in
wildlife markets similar to the one believed to be the source of
the coronavirus. The mothers are killed and their babies are sold
SOURCE Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)