We have invited Carolyn Jess back to continue to help us out as guest blogger in 2014 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation and is currently working on the Houston Zoo Crew. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

I never have heard of the Bushmeat Crisis until I visited the Houston Zoo this past weekend. I was on my lunch break for Zoo Crew training and was looking around at everything I could. I got to the primate area and read some of the signs, and that’s where I found out about the Bushmeat Crisis.

In Africa, the forests are also called “the bush”.  The animals that live in the bush, many of them endangered animals, are killed so that they can be eaten.  Chimpanzee, elephants and gorillas are just a few of the animals that are killed to eat.   It is a big industry now and people in Africa are making a lot of money from selling bushmeat, so much that when these people hunt, they are not thinking about just killing a few animals, but all that they can shoot.

That’s not all though.  Once the animal is shot, there is often a baby left behind without their parent.  These animals are taken as well and sold as pets or sold off to another place.  These animals usually die on their way to the market due to the containers they are shipped in.  The containers are often too small or don’t have holes for oxygen to get in.  Because of this, there has been a number of sanctuaries  opened to help take care of these orphaned babies and the workers help raise awareness of this problem.

These animals deserve better than this.  There are alternative food sources, but this meat is cheap and in big demand.  There are many things you can do to help stop this horrible crisis.  First of all, become aware of the problem and tell others.  You can visit the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force website to get information sent to you.  You can also get your senators to help.  Jane Goodall has a website for you to type in your name and address and a  letter will be sent to your senator.  The senators can support the African governments with making stricter laws for poaching and owning illegal animals.  You can also support a wildlife refuge or wildlife sanctuary in Africa. If people are aware of this problem, then we can all try to help.  If no one knows or reads about it, the problem will go on and our wildlife in Africa will disappear.