1. Bushmeat hunters in Africa typically earn in the range of $250 to $1050 a year.
2. In one sampled African market, ape meat cost about twice as much as beef or pork.
3. “In the big cities of Central Africa, it seems relatively easy to find a gorilla head or some hands, or perhaps a chimpanzee hand or two or four, for sale in the medicinal and fetish markets…In a Brazzaville fetish market, a dealer once offered me a gorilla head for the equivalent of $40 and a hand for about $10.”
4. Hunters of ape meat often rely on the trails cut by loggers
5. Ape meat supply has largely gone underground in recent years, although in a given market most people know whom to ask to get the meat.
6. Many village and hunter-gatherer societies have a special word for “meat-hunger.”
7. Central Africans eat at least as much meat per person as Americans or Europeans do.
8. Hunters claim that if a champanzee is wounded and cornered and about to meet his death, that he will beg for his life with the same expressions that a human being would use.
9. One hunter wrote: “It is this lurking reminiscence of humanity, indeed, which makes one of the chief ingredients of the hunter’s excitement in his attack of the gorilla.”
All of these bits are from Eating Apes, by Dale Peterson. This is a remarkably intelligent and disturbing book, the photos are unforgettable. The author is sympathetic to the plight of the great apes but he also understands how markets work, what the life of the poor is like, and why a naive ban on hunting is unlikely to succeed.
By the way, today’s Cnn.com reports that the Orangutan may be extinct within 10 to 20 years.