Zoo Zoo Zooma Zoom
Sure, that little kitten at the animal rescue shelter is cute, but have you ever considered an orangutan? Hopefully not — but far too many people have, fueling an illegal primate market in Nigeria, the country that conservationists say does the most trade in endangered species on the African continent. The animals are brought to market by poachers, then purchased by affluent customers who want them for public and private zoos worldwide. Along with primates, Nigerian poachers sell other highly endangered animals — fish eagles, desert foxes, gray parrots. A baby chimp costs about $500, and even extraordinarily rare gorillas can be bought for the right price (about $200,000). Nigeria is a signatory of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, but that hasn’t stopped traffickers from hawking animals in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.