A global wildlife firm plans to launch a database to monitor illicit traffic in chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos in order to support law enforcement and conservation efforts around the world. The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database to be launched by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) will enable the people to better recognize the impact of illegal trade on wild populations.
“We are only just beginning to understand the scale and the scope of the illegal trade in great apes, both at the national and international levels,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress during the Interpol-UN Environment Programme (UNEP) meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Cress said the database is an important tool that can help us identify hotspots, track trends and trade routes, and target markets.
“This information will also allow us to better understand the impact of illegal trade on wild populations,” he added. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 great apes are lost from the forests of Africa and Asia each year.
The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database is being developed in partnership with the World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) and GRASP partners, which include range states, wildlife authorities, conservation organizations, UN agencies, and research institutions.
Cress said relevant trends or information will be made available to international law enforcement and trade organizations such as Interpol, CITES, and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force for follow-up.
The database is modeled on systems already in place to monitor the illegal killing and trade of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and rhino horns, and will contain both public sections and restricted sections catered to partners for analysis and topic focus.
The Great Apes Illegal Trade Database will be operational in mid-2014.
GRASP is a unique alliance comprised of partner nations, research institutions, United Nations agencies, conservation organizations, and private supporters working to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.