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

Response to "The Protein Gap"

With interest and dismay, I recently read an article on the bushmeat crisis in central Africa entitled 'The Protein Gap" by Fred Pierce (Conservation In Practice, July - Sept 2005). In my opinion it contains a wide variety of inaccuracies and contradictions. Since I am cited as one contributing to the "propaganda war" against hunters and bushmeat hunting, I feel strongly about responding.

Firstly, regarding the image of the gorilla head in a cooking pot, a photograph I took and which has indeed gone around the world - If this is considered propaganda - I would like to suggest that it was this and similar images documenting the hunting of gorillas and other flagship species which has resulted in many scientists and conservationists, such as John Fa, taking an interest in the subject of bushmeat and seeing the potential of fund raising for research on the back of it. I doubt that a picture of some cane rats hanging on a pole would have done the same.

There is no longer any doubt in my mind that research into the bushmeat issue is one governed by considerations of political correctness, especially when it comes to researchers reliant on getting permits from local authorities. "Poverty alleviation" and "food security" are catch phrases used by those looking for explanations and excuses to justify the status quo. In my opinion they have little relevance to the main underlying problem which, as with most other African problems, is one of poor governance.

The article states, "Much of it is, after all, illegal". Indeed, pretty much all of these countries have very concrete and solid laws concerning hunting, many going back to colonial times. For example, in the case of a chimpanzee being hunted, numerous national laws will have been infringed upon, such as not holding the respective gun license, not having procured the cartridges with the proper documentation, hunting out of season, hunting in protected areas, hunting with non-traditional methods such as cable snares, hunting without the appropriate permits for the number and type of species, hunting at night (which is illegal pretty much everywhere), transporting game meat without a license, and trading bushmeat without a permit, etc...

To wish the above reality away, by hiding behind such explanations as poverty and food security, is, in my opinion, totally counterproductive. Doing so merely endorses poor quality governance and corruption which, I believe, are the root causes of the African development problem.

If these laws are no longer realistic, and if the logical answer is for both subsistence and commercial hunters to shoot at anything they can, because people have to eat and earn a living, then this is a very short term approach indeed. As a result, most of the local populations in question will only be poorer ten years from now then they are even today.

These countries have parliaments and highly paid politicians, meant to amend laws to make them realistic and consider the long term well being of the population. I doubt, however, that there will be any national or political debate about bushmeat as long as the donor community and foreign "experts", such as perceive it as a problem involving only poverty and food security.

It also beyond "... caring more about the survival of the forest species then that of the hunters...". The bushmeat issue should be examined for the purpose of increasing donor pressure on nations to improve the overall quality of governance. This will not be achieved, however, as long as national laws are being ignored and rationalizations aware. I have not met a hunter yet who denied that he could make a living on bushmeat even without hunting endangered and protected species.

The article also states, "... If the rich backed off bushmeat and hunters stopped hunting for cash, the situation would be better", an argument which only compounds the above contradictions. I would love to know, statistically, how much bushmeat in Central Africa is actually consumed by the hunter and his household and how much is traded for cash. While the problem of bushmeat does exist in other parts of Africa, law enforcement in eastern and southern Africa serves as a real deterrent, and demonstrates some underlying political will to deal with the legal side of the issue.

Clearly most of the consumers of bushmeat in the urban centers - where, as has been documented over and over again, the price is generally three to four times that charged at the forest source or for beef, pork and chicken - are aware that national laws which legislate hunting exist, and would not be adversely effected if these laws were adhered to. Fred Pierce's article, however, seems to suggest that lawlessness, both in the bush and in urban centers is to be expected as such should be accepted.

"They need alternatives - of things to eat and means of making a living. Trying to stop them from hunting otherwise won't work."

This is another statement which I find highly inaccurate.

I initiated a coffee buying project in the DRC a few years ago, after villagers repeatedly told me that the killing of elephants was necessary since they could no longer sell their coffee and thus had no income. Now, however, after this and another development project have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in this one village, buying coffee and building bridges, all indications are that an influx of disposable income has resulted in a drastic rise in the demand for bushmeat, as well as an increase in the poaching of elephants.....

I have had logging company executives tell me that every timber outfit in a certain region of Cameroon is fully aware that when a certain governor visits, gorilla meat must be served - this is his preference and nobody dares tell him that it is against the law.I have seen pictures of the official in question and he does not look like he suffers from protein deficiency....

What John Fa calls "...understanding the social and economic problems of the hunters...", I would classify as another foreign researcher's attempt to be politically correct so as to avoid jeopardizing access and research permits, upon which their livelihoods depend. It is much easier, unfortunately, to calculate sustainability rates by counting carcasses in bushmeat markets then it is to have illegally obtained bushmeat confiscated and guns burned.

It is time to call a spade a spade.

Karl Ammann
Nanyuki, Kenya
August 29, 2007

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