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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 16:41 GMT
Zoo joins anti-bushmeat campaign
Campaigners want a ban on the trade in bushmeat
Bristol Zoo joined a campaign to fight the illegal trade in bushmeat when a two million signature petition was presented to the European parliament.

Dr Bryan Carroll, zoo operations manager, joined environmentalists, MEPs and wildlife campaigners to hand in the petition on Friday, against the commercial hunting and trade in great apes.

The meat is eaten as a delicacy in many African countries.

The petition demands an end to the commercial hunting and sale of great apes, elephants and other threatened wildlife.

'Sickening trade'

Dr Carroll said: "We are facing a catastrophe that effects both the survival of our closest relatives and the people who rely on forests for their livelihoods."

Neil Parish MEP added: "I am horrified by the scale of this sickening trade. We must have stricter controls at all EU ports and airports to stop such meat getting into Europe.

"This is something I have been raising in Agriculture Committee and with the European Commission in the light of the foot-and-mouth outbreak for some time.

"I am shocked to discover that every year, tonnes of bushmeat are confiscated at Europe's airports.

"Endangered wildlife and habitats are a precious and irreplaceable asset. We must stop this barbaric practice."

In conjunction with the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund and the Cameroonian government, Bristol Zoo has created a centre for the care of orphaned lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.

The petition was organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and zoos across Europe.

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