In the marketplaces of Central Africa it's a common sight to see the body parts of gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees hanging on hooks to be sold as food. \nBut US environmentalists and biologists are now warning that the growing appetite for "bushmeat" is not only threatening Africa's great apes with extinction but also posing a growing AIDS risk to humans. \nAs logging companies forge roads into areas previously inaccessible to humans, apes are forced out of their habitats and then pursued by growing numbers of hunters and butchers who turn man's closest relatives into dinner. \nThe result is a sudden explosion in scope and impact of the traditional consumption of wild animal meat from a means of subsistence to an enormous and unsustainable business with global health implications, said Los Angeles-based biologist Dale Peterson. \n"It's a US$361 million business and the supply is collapsing based on sophisticated hunting techniques," said Peterson, the author of a book on the subject called Eating Apes. \nComparing the business to the US$1 billion-a-year logging business which is expanding, he said that while the dwindling ape population remains a major concern to environmentalists, there were human health risks too. \nThe butchering process of the apes is at the heart of the potential health crisis. \n"We're eating our closest relatives," said Michael Dee, general curator at the Los Angeles Zoo. "If a person has a wound or gets blood in his mouth, then the disease would be transmitted." \nAbout 1 percent of HIV-2 (human immuno-deficiency virus number 2) cases, the type that affects West Africa, is transmitted during the butchering process of monkeys, he said. \nSince diseases find ways to mutate or cross over to different species -- including HIV and SARS, which is thought to have originated in Civet cats -- the rise of a third strain of HIV is becoming increasingly likely as the bushmeat phenomenon grows, Dee said. \nThe contraction in population of the creatures has long been a worry for conservationists, but the problem is now reaching epidemic proportions. \nOnly about 120,000 gorillas -- enough to fill just one large football stadium -- remain in the world, as well as 250,000 chimpanzees and 50,000 bonobos. \nBy comparison, the number of humans is increasing at the rate of two stadiums a day and expanding into new areas. \n"We owe it to them to save them," Peterson said. \nBut while orphanages have sprung up to care for apes that have lost their parents to hunters' bullets, conservationists are having trouble making their warnings about the surge in appetite for bushmeat heard because the subject matter was "too disturbing" for audiences. \n"Not a lot of people want to buy a book of a gorilla's head in a pan or a hand being butchered," Peterson said. \nPeterson and a coalition of defenders of Africa's besieged great apes are trying to rally public awareness and financial support for a drive to clamp down on the eating of apes.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year