Ebola Curbs Dancing Monkey Business in Nigeria
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Donny Moss, Their Turn
September 2014

ebola monkeys wildlife
Photo: Pieter Hugo

The deadly Ebola virus is keeping Nigerians away from wild animals, and that’s good news for the baboons and hyenas who are kidnapped from the jungle, beaten into submission and forced to tour the country to entertain the locals.

ebola monkeys wildlife
Photo: Pieter Hugo

In 2007, Pieter Hugo, a South Africa photographer, traveled around Nigeria twice with a group of animal handlers and their performing hyenas and baboons. He said that locals, who are not socialized to consider the welfare of the animals, “flocked to watch monkeys dance in trousers or baboons mimic farmers” and that “the spectacle of the hyenas, monkeys and snakes being paraded through the streets” actually “caused traffic jams” with “everyone staring in wonder” and “showering them with money.”

ebola monkeys wildlife
Photo: Pieter Hugo

But that was before Ebola. Today, people are paying heed to the government’s warning to avoid interacting with captive animals. And that is saving some animals from a life of deprivation and torment in the streets of Nigeria.

The number of monkeys and hyenas who are kidnapped from the wild and held captive for entertainment is low, but, like the elephants in circuses and killer whales at Sea World, to each of these animals, their captivity is life itself.b


Bushmeat for sale in Nigerian market

The government is also advising people to abstain from bush meat. And, while Ebola has, in fact, curbed consumption, hunters expect to return to the forests soon — when the fear of hunger trumps concern about disease.


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