Nigeria condemns transfer of gorillas to South Africa

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) has condemned the transfer to South Africa of the four baby gorillas smuggled from Cameroon through Nigeria to Malaysia.
In a statement, NCF spokesman Paddy Ezeala called for the prosecution of the culprits involved in the sordid affair.
The NCF explained that the four baby gorillas, dubbed the "Taiping Four", were taken to the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia in 2002, disguised as captive-bred specimens, in a non-existent animal exchange programme with Nigeria.
The foundation said it was appalled by the development, and cited the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs the disposal of confiscated animals arising from illegal trade.
NCF claimed the Cameroonian government, through its Environment and Forestry Ministry, had insisted on the return of the animals to Cameroon.
"The gorillas should be returned to Cameroon, where they stand the chance of returning to their natural and appropriate wild environment where they are well suited," the statement said.
Justifying the call, the NCF explained that since South Africa had no native gorillas "these gorillas and their offspring would perpetually remain in captivity".
It warned that under no circumstance should South Africa return the gorilla to Malaysia, saying there were better primate rehabilitation centres in both Cameroon and Nigeria.

08 june 2004 16:17:00

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