Great Ape Court Cases: Take Their Defense!


African great apes are on the brink of extinction.

The biggest threat to their survival is the highly organized commercial trade that is emptying African forests of their wildlife.

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How this gift helps the planet

Traditional protection efforts have mainly concentrated on arresting poachers in and around national parks, with the objective of protecting specific populations. However, in most cases once the poachers are caught they can (and they generally do) easily bribe their way out of a legal situation. Most importantly, this approach does not tackle the main drivers and beneficiaries of the trade: the often highly placed traffickers and dealers who have access to the big markets in  urban centers, where the consumption of rare ‘bushmeat’ products, including great apes, is driving many species to extinction.


The quasi-total impunity surrounding wildlife related crimes in Central Africa is at the base of the failure to addressing this crisis. Until this issue is tackled head-on, there will be no real deterrent to stop the current massacre of wildlife within the forests of Central Africa.

WWF has recently joined regional efforts to address the problem of weak law enforcement in the judiciary system: a series of successful prosecutions of highly placed wildlife dealers is having a great impact both at the national and international level. To create an effective deterrent and thus increase the risk of the currently highly lucrative business of wildlife products, fair judicial judgment of wildlife related cases must become the norm rather than the exception.

With this gift you can ‘Take their Defense’ and contribute to the honorarium of a wildlife legal expert working on a case in defense of chimpanzee, gorilla and bonobo victims of illegal trade. Your contribution will be used only to cover costs contributing to: bringing a dealer or trafficker to court, following the court case until a sentence is handed down, and ensuring that sentences are effectively served.