Snail farming may save African apes from poaching

Only about 300 apes survive in Nigeria’s Cross River National Park on the Cameroon border. Poaching from nearby poor villagers searching for food or meat to sell has reduced the rare apes’ numbers to about one-tenth of their population a century ago. “These are some of the most endangered apes in Africa,” says James Deutsch of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The people are poor and protein is hard to find, so they will eat gorillas.”

Over the past six months, though, a pilot effort has trained and equipped eight poacher families to farm African giant snails, a local delicacy about 5 inches across, with funding from the Arcus Foundation of Kalamazoo, Mich., a great-ape conservation group. “Hunters will eat anything they find,” Deutsch says, but the likely profit from snail farming, about $413 a year, exceeds the profits from bushmeat trade, for which one gorilla’s meat earns poachers about $70.

Chimp infant, Cross River N.P, Nigeria (Credit: Cyril Ruoso)

African Giant Snail

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3 Responses to “Snail farming may save African apes from poaching”

  1. Anne Maher Says:

    This is exactly what Africa needs. Enterprise and alternatives to save themselves and their wildlife. This afterall, brings the lucrative tourism industry to their borders which in turn flows onto the people in one way or another through jobs or general national income. Many enterprising ideas like snail production needs to be explored and implemented as soon as possible.

  2. Anne Maher Says:

    Wipe out their tourism industry by eventually wiping out their wildlife through poaching and destruction – the country will be wiped out – & those you are hungry will be hungrier.

  3. Shrley Minassian Says:

    I hope they dont collect them all! I am guessing these snails have an important part to play in their eco system.

    I really dont know much about their environment (which must be incredibly harsh) but aquaculture would be good for them

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