Armenian environmentalists are trying to catch the trace of the Red Book apes imported to Armenia.
In early July "The Sydney Morning Herald" published an article about thousands of great apes, which are killed or trafficked into "slavery" each year in a multi-million dollar illegal trade. "Organised criminal networks, involving corrupt government officials, threaten great apes with extinction by trafficking them to be used as performers or pets," said Daniel Stiles, from the Project to End Great Ape Slavery (Pegas), a campaign group launched to raise awareness of their plight.
Hundreds of great apes - including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans - have been "brutally captured" and sold to countries including Armenia, China, Egypt, Russia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates in an "insidious trade", the group said.
Silva Adamyan, Head of the Bird Lovers' Center NGO, has told ArmInfo that she has contacted the CIT-es international organization, which regulates the importation and exportation of animals. "They confirm that this year 6-8 apes at a time have been brought to Armenia", she says.
The expert has not been informed for whom the apes have been imported to Armenia. Meanwhile, Adamyan does not rule out that they have been brought here for a private zoo. "In foreign countries wealthy people invest in wildlife, whereas in Armenia people prefer keeping the animals in cages", she says.