I AM writing to bring to your attention a serious threat facing both endangered wild animals and human health - the snaring of wild animals and consumption of their meat, known as bushmeat.
In many parts of Africa, bushmeat has evolved from a low-level subsistence activity to a large-scale commercial trade, supplying urban and even international markets. Many species of wild animal, including endangered species such as gorillas and elephants, are killed by poachers, butchered, and then transported to city markets and restaurants across the globe as part of this widespread commercial activity. In some areas this has led to 'empty forest syndrome' - the trees are still standing, but there is no wildlife left.
In Kenya, this crisis has recently been compounded by rising food prices, crop failures and the wide-ranging impacts of the global recession, which has led to an increase in the numbers of wild animals being killed for their meat.
This bloody business doesn't only impact wild animal populations. There are also concerns that the trade can pose a serious threat to human health, with the transmission of anthrax, Simian Foamy Virus and TB all being highlighted as potential risks.
Bushmeat also affects us here in the UK. Latest figures indicate that nearly 7,500 tonnes of illegal meat products enter Britain every year, some of which is believed to be bushmeat.
To raise awareness about this important issue, we have produced a new film with our partners Land Rover, which provides an insight into some of the enormous challenges faced by those in Kenya trying to bring a stop to this devastating trade.
To view the film and to find out how you can help, please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk/bushmeat.
WILL TRAVERS Born Free Foundation Chief Executive