WAZA Statement on Possible Wildlife Exports from DRC to China

Date: 2018/07/16


WAZA Emphasizes Opposition to Possible DR Congo Exports to China


The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) remains opposed to a controversial proposal to export gorillas, bonobos, okapis and other endangered wildlife from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Chinese zoos as global conservation experts gather this week for the 30th CITES Animals Committee Meeting in Geneva.


WAZA was among 16 signatories to a letter sent to the CITES Secretariat that expressed concern over a possible agreement between DR Congo's environment minister and a Chinese company that called for the export of over 60 rare animals.


"WAZA and its member institutions and associations are committed to conservation," said Doug Cress, Chief Executive Officer of WAZA. "At no time and in no way would WAZA support taking these iconic, and in some cases, critically endangered species from the wild. The excellent captive breeding programmes that zoos and aquariums have managed for decades make transactions such as this unnecessary."


The DR Congo - China proposal will likely be discussed at the CITES Animals Committee Meeting, as delegates seek to tighten regulations that protect endangered species.


A leaked document in June signed by the DR Congo environment minister, Amy Ambatobe Nyongolo, appears to refer to an agreement to export of 12 Mountain gorillas, 16 bonobos, 16 chimpanzees, eight African manatees and 20 okapi through the Tianjing Junheng International Trade Corporation Ltd.


The document also suggests that a team of Congolese experts should be hosted in China to ensure the appropriate introduction and conservation of the various species at the Taiyuan zoo and Anji Zhongnan zoo.


Neither zoo is a member of WAZA.


"The global zoo and aquarium community is the third-largest funder of conservation in the world," Cress said. "Our members increasingly emphasize the protection of wildlife and wild spaces, and this proposed deal between DR Congo and China runs counter to that."



 WAZA is the global alliance of over 400 regional associations, national federations, private companies, zoos and aquariums in more than 50 countries. For more, visit www.waza.org or contact communications@waza.org.




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