Zimbabwean authorities on Wednesday arrested four foreign nationals from three different countries for wildlife trafficking.
A spokesperson for the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks), Tinashe Farawo said two Congolese nationals, a Malawian and a Zambian were arrested during a routine border post check after they had entered the country with the apes in a truck.
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They were found with over 26 great apes illegally removed from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The animals were being cared for by Zimbabwe officials until they could be returned to DRC, Farawo said.
DRC’s environment minister Claude Nyamugabo Bazibuhe confirmed the development. He said:
All great apes (gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees) and pangolins are fully protected.
DRC, with its tropical rainforest, is one of the world’s last refuges for endangered great apes, such as eastern lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas.