Wildlife
trafficking

Chimpanzee Linda was smuggled from the wild
and was locked up alone for years.

Taken from the wild

In our shelters we see them all too often: animals that have been taken from the wild and illegally smuggled into Europe, for example, in bags or the trunk of a car. They have been snatched from their families in the wild only to end up in solitude as pets or tourist attractions.

This happened to chimpanzee Linda, for example: she was taken from the wild, then had to entertain people on the beach and was then locked up in a shed for years. Or take the little monkeys Sulley and Boo, whom we found more dead than alive at an airport in Spain.

Many endangered species that are internationally protected unfortunately still fall into the hands of traders. This illegal wildlife trade is one of the most profitable forms of organized crime.

Experts estimate that between 8 and 20 billion euros is earned annually.

At the same time, enforcement capabilities are limited and deterrent penalties often fail to materialize. As a result, the illegal trade in wildlife is still widespread, while some 25% of animal species are on the brink of extinction.

Sulley and Boo were found more dead than alive at an airport.

Lack of Rescue Capacity

An additional problem is that there are too few good shelter facilities for wild animals in Europe. If the authorities find an illegally traded wild animal, they have to confiscate the animal and find a suitable shelter.

Unfortunately, there are few suitable shelters, so wild animals can end up in substandard shelters, where they do not receive proper care. It happens that animals die as a result or are even euthanized. Also, some animals end up back in the illegal trade or they are not confiscated in the first place because there is no suitable shelter available.

The solution

As a shelter for confiscated wild animals, AAP is a crucial link in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. As a solution partner for enforcement authorities, we take in countless seized wild animals. Based on that role we also advocate across Europe for:

  • better protection of endangered wildlife species
  • better enforcement against illegal wildlife trade
  • better shelters for confiscated animals

Results

  • AAP has already taken in over 900 confiscated animals in the period 2001-2021.
  • AAP has set up the special Born to be Wild project to protect the Barbary macaque against poaching, illegal trade and habitat destruction.
  • Thanks in part to AAP’s efforts, the Barbary macaque has had the highest possible protection status since 2016. This means that this critically endangered species may no longer be taken from the wild for trade.
  • In 2019 AAP, together with fellow organizations, has called on the EU and EU member states to work towards more and better sanctuaries for wild animals and also to allocate more funding for them. The recommendations were presented at a major European Parliament event on European shelter issues. The European Parliament adopted these recommendations in its report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
The story of chimpanzee Linda
Linda's life story is terribly sad: as a baby she was separated from her mother and sold to a couple in Lanzarote.

They put her in tight clothes and used her as a photo prop. When she became too big and strong for this, she was locked up in a bare, concrete shed, all alone, for thirty years.

Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of AAP, this came to an end and now she lives with several companions of her own kind.

Publications

Solving the European Wildlife Rescue Crisis