EAZA Bushmeat Campaign
The first of EAZA's annual conservation campaigns addressed the issue of the unsustainable and illegal hunting and trade of threatened wildlife, and in particular the great apes. The slow reproductive rate of great apes means that the impact of hunting can be devastating for the long term survival of populations. Therefore the campaign had three main aims:
- to raise awareness of the impact that the hunting of wild meat has on great apes in Africa;
- to gather signatures for a petition urging leaders both in Europe and in Africa to address the crisis; and
- to raise funds to support great ape conservation projects.
- 170 participating institutions, the majority of which were EAZA members;
- 1.9 million signatures gathered for the bushmeat petition, almost doubling the original target of 1 million; and
- Over €100,000 collected for great ape conservation projects.
The campaign resulted in one of the largest petitions ever submitted to the European Parliament, with 1.9 signatures gathered. As a result of this petition and the debates it initiated, in 2004 the Parliament adopted a report that recognised the issue of bushmeat as important in relation to wildlife conservation, human food security and livelihoods, and human health. The impact of bushmeat has now been included as one of the factors to be considered in assessing applications for EU funding. Considerable support in achieving this result came from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The EAZA Bushmeat Campaign, and in particular the adoption of the parliamentary resolution, played a key role in the granting of €3.4 million to UNEP-GRASP (Great Ape Survival Project). This ambitious project aims to lift the threat of extinction for great apes through intergovernmental dialogue and policy making, conservation planning initiatives, technical and scientific support to range state governments, and fund and awareness raising in donor countries.
Campaign committee chair, Bryan Carroll, presents the EAZA Bushmeat Campaign petition to the EU Council of Development Ministers, 8 November 2001
Three projects were selected by the campaign working group for which participating institutions could raise funds. The selected projects were:
- Pan African Sanctuary Alliance - a network of primate sanctuaries that operate on low incomes, in countries that are often politically unstable and with damaged animals that other institutions won't or can't work with. PASA provides a network through which African sanctuaries can join forces to lobbyfund raisese, exchange information and promote their work.
- Research into chimpanzees and gorillas in the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon - a project that took an inclusive, multi-disciplinary approach, working with, for example, local people, logging companies, research institutes and zoos.
- Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe - dedicated to the conservation of gorillas, especially the mountain gorillas, and their habitats. They focus their work on the eastern gorillas by supporting projects contributing to the conservation of these animals.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
GRASP - Great Ape Survival Project
PASA - Pan African Sanctuary Alliance
Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe
EAZA Bushmeat Campaign Fact Sheet
Campaign retrospective article in Zooquaria 68 (Winter 2009/10)