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Kinshasa zoo

As part of our mission to protect the bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we visited Kinshasa zoo. We were appalled by what we saw : a desolate place in which the animals are left to starve. The zoo, in the centre of Kinshasa, reflects the misery that reigns in this war-torn country. As ever, animals are the final victims of human madness.

Condemned to die of hunger

Often when an animal dies it is replaced by another that has also been captured in the wild, in violation of laws for the protection of endangered species… and despite the fact that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a signatory to the CITES agreements.

These animals have been snatched from the country's magnificent natural environment, one in which all their needs are met. Primates, including chimpanzees, two leopards, a bush cat, coyotes, birds of prey as well as horses await death in filthy concrete cages. They are not given food or water every day.

Over the years, 21 chimpanzees have died. Eight are still struggling to survive, forced to perform silly tricks in exchange for scraps of food from the zoo's rare few visitors. One of them has been isolated in a dark, cramped cage. Adeline doesn't have long to live.

They can be saved

Staff at the zoo have no money to buy the animals' food. We must save the zoo's remaining inmates before it's too late. No structures exist in Kinshasa that could help them.

We will contact the Congolese minister of the environment to recommend that all the animals be transferred to Chimfunshi sanctuary in Zambia. The most urgent matter, however, is that the minister orders the zoo's closure and issues the necessary permits to save the animals.

Compassion across the borders

One Voice has called upon international and Belgian organisations to assist us in this (Belgium has historical links with the DRC). One Voice, the Great Ape Project, Animaux en Péril and Veterinary Doctor Yvan Beck from Planète-Vie are committed to this new international combat. Freeing the animals in Kinshasa zoo is more than just a moral issue: it is a question of life or death.

How you can help

One Voice needs your help to put pressure on Congo's ambassadors in France and Brussels. Please write a polite letter, asking them to request that action be taken by the Congolese authorities to save the animals in Kinshasa zoo. Send your letters to One Voice and we will give them to the diplomats we are to meet to give added impact to our request. Thank you.

Translation : Sandra PETCH

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