Gang demands six-figure ransom for three orphaned chimps

Gang demands six-figure ransom for three orphaned chimps

A gang stole three orphaned chimpanzees from a sanctuary, demanding a six-figure ransom. The facility’s owner suspects an inside operation.

The JACK shelter in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is maintained by Belgian citizen Roxane Chantereau and her French husband Franck. Roxane claims she is “very positive” that the intruders are connected to their personnel.

On September 9, around three in the morning, the chimpanzees were taken, albeit it is unclear how the gang was able to carry off the theft.

There is no proof of forcible entrance, according to the nightly armed guards, who said they did not see or hear anything during the kidnapping.

When the kidnappers delivered them “proof of life” recordings the next morning, they learned about the robbery for the first time.

The group then said they would murder the owners and steal their kids.

According to Mrs. Chantereau, “This position is really difficult to take.”

“I’m still hoping the infants are still alive.” Before we saved them, they had to endure a great deal of trauma. We were overjoyed to be able to provide them a better life at last.

However, human greed has once again altered the direction of their lives and caused them great anguish.

I’m hoping that these young ones will return to us.

The kidnappers’ video shows Hussein and Cesar, two of the orphaned animals, scrambling over overturned pieces of furniture in the bare-brick room as Monga, a five-year-old girl, has her arms bound over her head.

Cesar had just recently arrived at the sanctuary after being rescued from a market and transported there over the course of three days on the back of a motorbike and two flights.

Mrs. Chantereau said she is now bringing the animals into her home to sleep with them out of concern that a trafficking group may once again attack them.

“You can see how afraid they are,” her husband added in reference to the video.

He is collaborating with law enforcement organisations to attempt to find the chimpanzees and make sure they are returned safely.

The pair is worried that they won’t be able to reconnect with the animals again since they haven’t heard from the traffickers since their original video.

The chimpanzees are already orphaned as a result of the estimated £20 billion annual trade in animals.

They had all been granted a second opportunity, but now this new nightmare, according to Mr. Chantereau.

Collectors of live animals and body parts from Asia and the United Arab Emirates fuel the illegal market.

Adams Cassinga, director of ConservCongo, which looks into and prosecutes wildlife crimes, told Mongabay that the incident was very unusual and was the first he had heard of anywhere in the world, not only in Africa. People utilising animals as a shield or to further a political or social objective has been reported.

“This is the first time I have heard of individuals really kidnapping animals in order to demand money,” said the speaker.

“These criminals have elevated wildlife crime as a whole to a new level.” Additionally, it calls on law enforcement officials to boost their game. Panic and terror exist.

A young chimpanzee costs around £10,000. However, capturing one in the wild usually necessitates the death of the whole family.

A million chimps lived in Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, but there are now just around 300,000 left.

Around 40 chimpanzees and 64 monkeys from 14 different species live at Mr. Chantereau’s facility, one of three he established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he founded in 2006.

By giving food, housing, and medicine to the animals rescued from traffickers and increasing awareness of their predicament, it aids in their rehabilitation.

The abduction has raised fears that sanctuaries may be the target of a new kind of criminality.

He admitted to Mongabay that the last 18 years had been difficult. But the abduction of apes is something we have never seen before. Additionally, they made threats to take my wife and children.

“These shelters get a lot of assistance and finances from foreign groups, like ours,” said Florence Teneau of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, which assists in funding the Jack sanctuary: “The traffickers take advantage of this, since the animals become all the more valuable.”

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