karl ammann
bushmeat activist, wildlife photographer, author;

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contact us:
email: photo inquiries
email: karl directly
in USA: 301-854-0388

present features:

As CITES annual conf.
nears Karl expounds on
CITES double standards.

Karl's exposition of the
real Ivory price
in China.

Christopher Hasslet's
incredible report on the
illicit online ape trade.

An open letter regarding
developments in Guinea

concerning the illegal
export of great apes.

karl's recent Report on
, its permitting
system, with clear
evidence of its
failure to police
the trade in live animals
of endangered species

karl discusses how
disappearing wildlife,
worldwild, reappears
in Chinese Zoo and
Safari Park facilities

karl interviewed by
Southeast Asia Globe
reveals his trade secrets;
staying out of trouble,
disillusion w/progress
on illicit animal trade

CITES 2011 Guinea
Mission Report

karl comments on
Apparent drop in
rhino horn demand

karl wins another
SAB environmental
media award

Commercial Exploitation
and Cites

karl ammannn

Overwhelmed U.S. port
inspectors unable to keep up
with illegal wildlife trade
Darryl Fears (in Wash Post)

African fraud, local market
exacerbate illegal primate

Global Times

Media Report (in Chinese)
Southern China Weekly

the Conakry Connection
very detailed report on
great ape smuggling in Guinea
provides insight into the
worldwide animal trade.
karl ammann and others

latest (9-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

latest (1-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

Cites and the Shanghai 8
exporting illegal wild apes
claiming them captive bred
karl ammann

Cites and the Taiping4
more on the export
of illegal wild apes
claimed as captive bred
karl ammann

Karl's blogs for
National Geographic
tiger Trade, china's chimp
smuggling, ivory tracking,
rhino poaching and more.

Tiger farming in
SE Asia

karl ammann

more on the China-
Gorilla story

karl ammann

Cites and the illegal
trade in wildlife

karl ammann

emails/letters/issues ignored
bonobos to Armenia

GRASP correspondence on
illegal animal trade

allegations of a coverup at the
CITES secretariat

karl ammann

a fairy tale of ivory:
the ongoing tragedy of
incompetence, slaughter,
and lawlessness.
karl ammann and others

for details see this
transcript with NBouke.
karl ammann and others

the Rhino & the Bling - the
inside mechanics of the
rhino horn trade.
karl ammann

karl's latest elephant
poaching video

Millions spent on ape
conservation and where
are the results?

karl ammann

an interview with Karl
on the state of conservation,
poaching, trafficking
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Where Did All
the Tigers Go?

karl ammann

the detailed report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking

karl ammann

the updated report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking in Egypt

karl ammann

Tiger, Lion bones
and rhino horn

another piece in Swara

karl ammann

Tiger cake & rhino horn
from Swara, a magazine of the
East African Wildlife Society

karl ammann

Into the Asian Underworld
in Africa Geograpic's
Rhino Watch
(page 3)
karl ammann

karl speaks at Foreign
Correspondents' Club of
Thailand - International
Trade in Reptile Skins

rhino versus ape

karl ammann

the rhino horn story
at consumer end
karl ammann

the latest horrors of
Poaching in
karl ammann

addendums to
elephants and elephant
conservation in the DRC

karl ammann

Our reptile skin trade
is now online.

Rhino Files: 333 rhinos
killed by poachers in
barbaric fashion

karl ammann
bernadette cook

Cites and the diplomatic
approach: these videos
say it does not work

karl ammann

Karl wins another
Genesis award

notes on Orang conservation
in Kalimantan - a sad story

errol pietersen

despite illegally held apes
CITES action minimal

karl ammann

asia geographic on
illegal wildlife trade

dale peterson
karl amman

africa geographic
reports on karl's
smuggling studies

karl ammann

Karl's German site

of interest

karl nominated for
zoological society medal

'Canned hunting': the
lions bred for slaughter

The Guardian

Seven rhinos killed ...
Kenya's bloodiest week

The Guardian

Forestry Education info
chase g

Not on Animal Planet
karl ammann

2010 Bili-Uere Update
karl ammann

more on wildlife
trafficking from Boten -
bears, leopard, tiger cubs

karl ammann

"horrific slaughter of
elephants ... butchered
in the Central African
Republic ... "

from BBC Newsnight

HIV ignored in Natl
Geographic article on
disease transmission

karl ammann

The Protein Gap
A misleading article

karl ammann

Mass Gorilla Execution
Can we learn from it?

karl ammann

Hundreds of Elephants
killed in DRC Park

from radio Okapi

Hunting Report take
on Chimp escape

karl ammann

US Wildlife Agency
provides a bandaid

karl ammann

open letter to CITES
re: wildlife export

karl ammann

important books

elephant reflections
dale peterson
karl ammann

eating apes
dale peterson
karl ammann

consuming nature
anthony rose
karl ammann

The Cairo Connection; Animal Smuggling

The Cairo Connection Part II: Ape Trafficking
Enforcement Missions by CITES
Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?
Pax Animalis; a report by Karl Ammann

In 2001 the CITES Secretariat got for the first time involved in the ape trafficking issue in and out of Egypt when a deplorable case came to light. The Secretary-General took the unusual step to respond with two press releases (below).

Today 10 years later we would like to evaluate what progress has been made in the context of Egypt and CITES compliance and enforcement.

This is what this 2011 report is all about. Please read the Cairo Connection II.

Also see an update to this report: The Cairo Connection III.

An Open Letter (2009) to all PASA Members

We have now finished the documentary film shoot on the 'Cairo Connection'. I followed up on Jason's initial investigation with a trip to Cairo and the UAE in December and then the film shoot in February this year. This we combined with a visit to Europe to interview CITES and Interpol officials and Mike Pugh, formerly of WSPA, who did their investigation in 1996/1997. There is considerable interest in the documentary and the story in general and as such we have started providing the print media with background information.

In Egypt we documented a total of 21 chimps and four gorillas, mostly in private collections, which were clearly brought in illegally and were brought in by the gang our investigation has been targeting (one private zoo owner told us of many gorillas having perished in these same facilities in the last few years).

Clearly nothing has changed since the 96/97 WSPA investigation where Mike Pugh's records show that this woman and her relatives have been smuggling an average of some 40 chimps and 8 gorillas a year and have been doing so for several decades and probably are still doing so today. (as usual the original source of most of these apes was and is Cameroon).

It is also evident that she has supplied other parts of the Middle East and that several chimps smuggled by her into the Emirates and into Qatar are now in PASA sanctuaries.

Interviews with officials at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi also revealed that the problem with Kenya Airways goes a long way beyond the six chimps confiscated in January. 2005. Practically all the illegal traffic through the airport takes place as tarmac transfers and there appears to be no control whatsoever in such circumstances (see also the press release below). As such the role of Kenya Airways in this shipment and potentially many other illegal wildlife shipments has been confirmed by a range of sources.

In the case of Egypt there appears to be an additional racket where private collections of wildlife, held by powerful individuals, are classified as 'Rescue Centers under CITES" while the representatives of the Management authorities in Cairo state that they are aware that all the apes in question - plus a wide range of other wildlife - have been bought 'on the black market'.

This brings me to what should/could be learned from this investigation - besides the obvious - that one can not rely on self governing international conventions such as CITES and Interpol in countries with such poor governance quality as Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt etc.

The lack of any kind of accreditation of national rescue centers - under CITES - means they can and are being used to launder animals. Influential collectors find a way to get hold of these animals and the next step is their facility is classified as a recognized rescue center and the CITES rules have been 'complied with'.

This is something PASA might want to take up with CITES, potentially combined with the offer to help accredit national rescue centers, especially when it comes to those holding apes. (Repatriation only seems to be an issue when it comes to gorillas. It would appear none of the range states wants their chimps back).

Furthermore I still feel strongly about the decision making process, during last years annual PASA meeting having been more then just flawed but outright insulting. Below again the two statements which indicate to what extend the PASA position, as expressed by Doug changed, from one day to the next.

I quote from Doug's E-mails:

The bottom line is that Jason's work remains solid. We have an opportunity here to send a loud SOS. I would hate to have it muted because we can't or won't divulge facts, names, numbers or at least some tangible aspects that put into fresh perspective just how devastating the black-market trade has been. (Doug Cress for PASA on 10 May 2005 in an E-mail to all parties concerned on the press conference, planned at the Norfolk Hotel on June 9th)

Then the E-mail below copied only to Roz Reeve as the final decision by PASA on June 8th:

  1. Jason prepares a thorough dossier on all his information and presents it to you / me.
  2. KWS is given the information and asked to either follow up or work to tighten animal controls in-country.
  3. 3. Ali Kaka and myself / Annie meet with the president of KQ to present information and ask for clear and public action on exotic animal trade
  4. 4. You present whatever facts that are relevant to CITES regarding Kano / Khartoum / Cairo.
  5. 5. Any failure by KQ to act within 3-4 weeks or CITES to act within 3-4 weeks will necessitate going public with the information.

I have tried to find out what prompted this 180 degree change in direction (besides the fact that Kenya Airways was prominently displayed in the meeting room as a corporate sponsor of PASA). I was told by several parties that the decision to unilaterally pull out of the press conference was presented as a fait accomplit in the meeting in which it was supposedly discussed.

Some of the French contingent, as on previous occasions, felt that they were not really clear as to what the issue was and if they had to respond or not (no translations).

For an organization which has been 'growing' for quite a few years now it is distressing to find out that there still is no clear formula concerning a decision making process when it comes to issues like this one. There appears to be no formal agenda of such items being presented, no opening up of the floor for discussions, no votes if and where necessary, and no minutes.

These, as far as I am concerned are about the minimum standards when it comes to decision making in any organization of this nature.

So, if it comes to learning lessons. When will PASA become more professional in this context???

Last but not least: I indicated before that several of the chimps having been smuggled by this gang now appear to be in PASA sanctuaries. Some were confiscated in Qatar some in the UAE (one gorilla seems to have been handed over voluntarily, by one Prince, and it went to a zoo in Prague).When trying to link some of these cases to our favorite trafficking family we found the authorities very uncooperative indeed - and many expats which were involved in some of the cases - shaking in their boots.

Even with the two well documented Qatar cases, with all the circumstantial evidence clearly pointing to the Kano/Cairo gang having been involved, the authorities denied there was any kind of information as to the passenger who had brought in the chimps, the pet shop who had tried to clear them with an import permit for 'black monkeys', any passenger manifest which would have allowed to pinpoint some of the well known traffickers or any kind of other information who the apes were taken from (there was a lot more in the press at the time then the authorities now admit to know about).

The end result of this lack of investigation of course means that every now and then something goes wrong with a shipment, some animals get confiscated. If it is apes PASA sanctuaries take them with open arms and the traffickers involved internalize the cost of having lost a shipment (with drugs the estimate is that this is the case with about one in fifteen shipments) as a standard business expense and everything continues as before.

This was also apparent with the 7 chimps which came to Sweetwaters a few years ago. They were clearly the result of a demand pattern which made people on the DRC side of the border actively look for chimps to sell to expats on the other side.

In the context of the above PASA should have a clear cut policy of not accepting any apes without some detailed investigations having been carried out and the results being made public and where corruption, negligence, mismanagement has been established, that there is a plan for corrective measures to be taken with a corresponding follow up.

Without such a system in place some of the PASA sanctuaries might have in the past and potentially will in the future become part of the problem rather then any solution.

Trust these facts and sentiments will be accepted in the spirit they are presented: Something is very wrong out there and some lessons need to be learnt.

(editor note: Once again read The Cairo Connection II and The Cairo Connection III.

Best wishes from a very rainy Mt. Kenya
Karl Ammann
Nanyuki, Kenya

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