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PCWS Press Release

Release Date: January 3 2000
Contact: Hope Walker, President The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society (1-888-595-PCWS)

Conservation Groups Target U.S. Timber Companies to End Illegal Hunting of Africa's Great Apes

PORT TOWNSEND, WA - In an effort to inform U.S. consumers about how certain domestic companies promote illegal hunting of great apes in Africa, The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society (PCWS) along with the Rainforest Action Network is launching a major educational campaign.

A recent report issued by Rainforest Action Network states that many of the African hardwoods imported into the U.S. are logged and imported by U.S. companies. "When fighting to save endangered species," said PCWS founder and President Hope Walker, "it is all too easy to blame the lax conservation practices of certain African countries. But it is actually the practices of Western-based timber companies - some even in Washington State - that are accelerating the demise of Africa's great apes.".

PCWS, in cooperation with several other organizations, has developed a poster and action kit aimed at educating citizens on the plight of Africa's great apes. The Action Kit provides background information on the hunting and killing of primates and the destruction of their habitat, and also provides the names and addresses of U.S. timber companies active in African rainforests, with information on joining a letter-writing campaign.

"It is no exaggeration that within our children's lifetimes, there may be no wild populations of chimpanzees or gorillas left," said RAN's Africa campaign director Erick Brownstein. "We must demand that US based companies stop selling tropical wood ripped from the heart of the rainforests. By doing so, we will help insure the protection of Africa's last old growth forests, home to the threatened great apes."

Proceeds from the sale of the poster, rich with images of gorillas and chimpanzees taken by world-famous photographers, will benefit primate conservation organizations whose works focuses on ending the "bushmeat" trade.

Bushmeat hunting, or the killing of endangered species for human consumption, has been practiced on a subsistence level by forest-dwelling peoples for centuries. But the influx of loggers into the rainforest, and increased access to remote forest areas via logging roads, has transformed bushmeat hunting into a commercial venture. This poses a serious threat to the survival of Africa's great apes, can be traced directly to activities of the logging companies.