karl ammann
bushmeat activist, wildlife photographer, author;

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the early days correspondence project reports scientific articles karl's notes photographs dna evidence bili coffee project 2010 bili update
contact us:
email: photo inquiries
email: karl directly
in USA: 301-854-0388

present features:

As CITES annual conf.
nears Karl expounds on
CITES double standards.

Karl's exposition of the
real Ivory price
in China.

Christopher Hasslet's
incredible report on the
illicit online ape trade.

An open letter regarding
developments in Guinea

concerning the illegal
export of great apes.

karl's recent Report on
, its permitting
system, with clear
evidence of its
failure to police
the trade in live animals
of endangered species

karl discusses how
disappearing wildlife,
worldwild, reappears
in Chinese Zoo and
Safari Park facilities

karl interviewed by
Southeast Asia Globe
reveals his trade secrets;
staying out of trouble,
disillusion w/progress
on illicit animal trade

CITES 2011 Guinea
Mission Report

karl comments on
Apparent drop in
rhino horn demand

karl wins another
SAB environmental
media award

Commercial Exploitation
and Cites

karl ammannn

Overwhelmed U.S. port
inspectors unable to keep up
with illegal wildlife trade
Darryl Fears (in Wash Post)

African fraud, local market
exacerbate illegal primate

Global Times

Media Report (in Chinese)
Southern China Weekly

the Conakry Connection
very detailed report on
great ape smuggling in Guinea
provides insight into the
worldwide animal trade.
karl ammann and others

latest (9-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

latest (1-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

Cites and the Shanghai 8
exporting illegal wild apes
claiming them captive bred
karl ammann

Cites and the Taiping4
more on the export
of illegal wild apes
claimed as captive bred
karl ammann

Karl's blogs for
National Geographic
tiger Trade, china's chimp
smuggling, ivory tracking,
rhino poaching and more.

Tiger farming in
SE Asia

karl ammann

more on the China-
Gorilla story

karl ammann

Cites and the illegal
trade in wildlife

karl ammann

emails/letters/issues ignored
bonobos to Armenia

GRASP correspondence on
illegal animal trade

allegations of a coverup at the
CITES secretariat

karl ammann

a fairy tale of ivory:
the ongoing tragedy of
incompetence, slaughter,
and lawlessness.
karl ammann and others

for details see this
transcript with NBouke.
karl ammann and others

the Rhino & the Bling - the
inside mechanics of the
rhino horn trade.
karl ammann

karl's latest elephant
poaching video

Millions spent on ape
conservation and where
are the results?

karl ammann

an interview with Karl
on the state of conservation,
poaching, trafficking
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Where Did All
the Tigers Go?

karl ammann

the detailed report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking

karl ammann

the updated report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking in Egypt

karl ammann

Tiger, Lion bones
and rhino horn

another piece in Swara

karl ammann

Tiger cake & rhino horn
from Swara, a magazine of the
East African Wildlife Society

karl ammann

Into the Asian Underworld
in Africa Geograpic's
Rhino Watch
(page 3)
karl ammann

karl speaks at Foreign
Correspondents' Club of
Thailand - International
Trade in Reptile Skins

rhino versus ape

karl ammann

the rhino horn story
at consumer end
karl ammann

the latest horrors of
Poaching in
karl ammann

addendums to
elephants and elephant
conservation in the DRC

karl ammann

Our reptile skin trade
is now online.

Rhino Files: 333 rhinos
killed by poachers in
barbaric fashion

karl ammann
bernadette cook

Cites and the diplomatic
approach: these videos
say it does not work

karl ammann

Karl wins another
Genesis award

notes on Orang conservation
in Kalimantan - a sad story

errol pietersen

despite illegally held apes
CITES action minimal

karl ammann

asia geographic on
illegal wildlife trade

dale peterson
karl amman

africa geographic
reports on karl's
smuggling studies

karl ammann

Karl's German site

of interest

karl nominated for
zoological society medal

'Canned hunting': the
lions bred for slaughter

The Guardian

Seven rhinos killed ...
Kenya's bloodiest week

The Guardian

Forestry Education info
chase g

Not on Animal Planet
karl ammann

2010 Bili-Uere Update
karl ammann

more on wildlife
trafficking from Boten -
bears, leopard, tiger cubs

karl ammann

"horrific slaughter of
elephants ... butchered
in the Central African
Republic ... "

from BBC Newsnight

HIV ignored in Natl
Geographic article on
disease transmission

karl ammann

The Protein Gap
A misleading article

karl ammann

Mass Gorilla Execution
Can we learn from it?

karl ammann

Hundreds of Elephants
killed in DRC Park

from radio Okapi

Hunting Report take
on Chimp escape

karl ammann

US Wildlife Agency
provides a bandaid

karl ammann

open letter to CITES
re: wildlife export

karl ammann

important books

elephant reflections
dale peterson
karl ammann

eating apes
dale peterson
karl ammann

consuming nature
anthony rose
karl ammann

of the DRC, South Africa and the United States of America

Nanyuki, June 2006

Dear Sirs,

I am an independent author/film maker living in Kenya, East Africa. I have produced, or assisted in the production of, five documentaries dealing with primate conservation in the DRC. I have authored a book on the three sub species of gorillas, have co authored two titles on the Great Apes of the world, as well as two titles detailing the bushmeat crisis, one entitled Eating Apes the other Consuming Nature.

I was extremely disturbed to hear about the recent export of some 103 primates from the DRC to South Africa and then the re export of a selected group of 33 on to the United States. I was more than just disturbed when I saw press statements of this transaction having cost the US zoo community some U$ 440 000. Bandying this kind of money around, anywhere in Central Africa, but especially in the DRC, can mean one thing and one thing only - dozens of parties trying to cash in on such a new money source and scheme.

If one then puts this in context with the claims made by the importing zoos, concerning having 'saved these primates from the bush meat trade', one can only shake one's head in disbelief at the naiveté of the parties concerned, or worse the intent to mislead the public.

As far as the CITES management authorities are concerned and the enforcement of the corresponding rules and regulations governing the convention:

There is absolutely no way these primates could have been collected adhering to the national laws (see outline below). This being one of the conditions for allowing the export of Appendix 2 species.

In the context of the DRC it is also very clear that, at present, nobody has the information which would allow the conclusion that this kind of off take is not endangering the wild populations, another condition of the convention.

It would appear there is a range of further irregularities when it comes to the rest of the paperwork concerning the re export of these primates to the US.

The end result is that such transactions are totally counterproductive to any conservation efforts in the DRC or any other country in the region. While they might satisfy zoo needs to increase the genetic pool, the end result will be a drastic decrease in the genetic pool in the wild.

If countries like South Africa and the United States start looking for ways and means to defeat the spirit of such multilateral conventions as CITES, then what can be expected from such poorly governed countries such as the DRC

Yours sincerely,
Karl Ammann

cc: Secretary General of CITES, Geneva
cc: UN mission to the Congo
cc: Concerned individuals and NGOs

Herewith some facts relating to the hunting and capturing of wildlife in the DRC:

If the animals were the by product of legal hunting the following aspects of the laws would have needed to be adhered to:

- Traditional hunting is only allowed with traditional methods (e.g. hunting nets, lianas, etc.)
- Any hunting with weapons requires one of a range of hunting permits
- No party with a criminal record or a record of breaking hunting regulations can be issued with a hunting permit
- They are only issued to parties who have passed an appropriate test in the use of firearms
- A tax has to be paid for such a permit
- There are declared open and closed hunting seasons
- One person can only get one type of hunting permit
- The hunting permit lists the type of species and the number allowed to be taken
- The validity of the permit is for a maximum of one year

As far as capture and export of live animals, the law provides:

- That any such permit issued determines the number and sex of the species being captured and it can not include any fully protected species.
- It can only be valid for 12 months.
- In the context of the capture permit FIREARMS CAN ONLY BE USED FOR SELF DEFENSE.
- A capture register has to be maintained at all times.
- The owner of a permit is only allowed to keep such animals in captivity if they have been legally obtained, during the validity of the permit and properly listed in the official capture register.
- The animals are to be in good health and in good hygienic conditions.
- Any party with a capture permit who wants to export partially protected species has to be in the possession of a permit for 'Legal Detention' which can only be issued based on a Certificate of Origin from the regional authorities where the animals were captured.
- The owner of a Capture Permit has to pay all the relevant commercial capture taxes in advance (for the number and sex of the species applied and authorized).
- The certificate for legal detention can only be issued upon showing of the receipt that such taxes have been paid in full.

There is a high probability that not a single aspect of these laws was complied with when these 103 primates were exported to South Africa.

As for such exports not endangering the remaining wild populations:

According to the CITES web page the DRC does not have a quota for the export of any mammal except for five Leopard skins per year

It also has a quota for the African Grey Parrots.

This quota was 1000 live birds in 2003: They exported 11 357 or exceeded their quota by 1135%. They increased their quota to 10 000 parrots in 2004 and with 10 375 they still went over the limit. In 2005 with the same quota of 10 000 parrots they went to 13 270 or 32.7% over their quota. 1720 went to South Africa.

There is every indication that the Scientific Authority of the DRC is not very organized or active and in a country where the census of nationals is a major issue there clearly are no estimates of how many of the exported
primates/parrots still exist in the wild and how many could be sustainably taken (without the use of any guns!!). (There are estimates that the country lost: 90% of its elephants, 90% of its hippo population, 90% of the Northern
White Rhino, 70% of the Eastern Lowland gorilla and some 75% of the bonobo in the last decade).

Further evidence concerning compliance with the CITES convention by the authorities of the DRC:

On April 20th, 2002, the Ministers of the Environment and Finance signed a new tax code for the capture, hunting and keeping in captivity of all fully and partially protected species.

Indeed, this code includes all the protected species including mountain gorilla, bonobo, chimpanzee, okapi and even the world's most endangered large mammal: northern white rhino. This tax code appears to be still in force.

For the mountain gorilla the capture tax is Fiscal Francs (equal to one U$) 1000.00,the hunting/killing of a mountain gorilla is U$ 500 and the keeping in captivity is U$ 3000.

As for partially protected species such as the Colobus guerza, exported in 2005, the Capture fee should have been U$ 40.00 the hunting fee U$ 25.00 and the detention permit U$ 116.00

Under the CITES rules and regulations the export of Appendix 2 animals would have to be accompanied with an export permit which in turn confirms that the local management authority is satisfied with the fact that these animals have been legally collected and that their off take did not endanger the wild population.

I would doubt that a single one of these primates has actually been confiscated from a bush meat market. I initiated and took part in the confiscation of several chimpanzees and a bonobo. This generally is only
possible if it is done as a surprise raid and would require a number of armed ICCN guards which in turn would require a considerable incentive to be put on the table. To the best of my knowledge this has been done for apes but has never been done for lesser primates.

I was also involved in the 'legal export' of some of the above to an approved sanctuary outside the DRC which required spending thousands of dollars on legal representation and 'incentives'. In the end the three chimpanzees in question were exported under a permit classifying them as bonobo (getting this error corrected would probably have taken another six months and cost another few thousand dollars). These were confiscated animals exported with no commercial motives to a recognized chimp sanctuary of which none exists in the DRC.

It is also interesting to know that the official CITES web page for the DRC lists both the chimpanzee and the bonobo not only as Appendix 1 but also as Appendix 2 species.

As signatories of the convention DRC should not have issued export permits and South Africa should not have allowed these primates to enter the country. South Africa should not have allowed the reexport of 33 of these primates and the US should not have allowed the corresponding import (which appears to have been done as 'captive borne').

Importing wildlife from Congo under the present very poor quality of governance, and based on the above infringement of national and international laws (CITES) clearly amounts to a looting of national resources and
deserves to be investigated by the UN as has been done for other natural resources.

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