Trafficked great apes from DR Congo rescued in Zimbabwe

Ape, photo: Julie Ricard on Unsplash
Ape, photo: Julie Ricard on Unsplash

At least 26 great apes who were taken from their living area in the Democratic Republic of Congo were rescued in Zimbabwe. Four suspected traffickers have been arrested, authorities in both countries said Friday.

DR Congo is one of the world’s last refuges for endangered great apes, such as eastern lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas.

Two Congolese nationals, a Malawian and a Zambian were arrested during a routine border check. They tried to enter Zimbabwe with the apes illegally in their truck, Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) told AFP.

Farawo said the animals were being cared for by Zimbabwe officials until they could be returned to DR Congo.

DR Congo’s environment minister Claude Nyamugabo Bazibuhe said they also discovered 56 kilograms (125 pounds) of pangolin scales at a private residence.

They were taken from the Garamba natural reserve, on the border with South Sudan and Uganda.

Pangolins are considered the most-trafficked animal on the planet for their scales which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The effectiveness of these medicines has never been scientifically proven.

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