|Greater cane rat in Gabon|
Federal authorities are investigating an African art store on Chicago's West Side, which had received a shipment of monkey heads and 24 dead cane rats. The animals were likely to have been victims of the illegal African bushmeat trade. The store had been raided last month by authorities, but no charges had been filed since. According to experts, the Windy City has become one of the western centers of the bushmeat trade. Conservationists even say that it is partially responsible for the decrease in numbers of chimpanzees and gorillas. In addition to that, experts had even warned of potential health hazards from monkey meat which includes a simian form of HIV. However, there are differences in opinions regarding the demand of bushmeat trade in North America and Europe. Also, some experts deny of such a virus contained in wild primate meat as there had not been any recorded cases of human transference.
I'm surprised to see that an illicit activity like the bushmeat trade can extend beyond its borders from the dark continent, and into the west. It's also surprising to know about a virus similar to HIV maybe contained inside meats of monkeys and apes. This could pose as a threat to consumers, and indicate how dangerous the bushmeat trade can be. But there have been differences in opinion about whether there really is an HIV-like virus in simian meat, or not. Also, it is unclear about how much impact the bushmeat trade has in North America and Europe. I can only hope that federal authorities will keep track of whatever shipment that enters the U.S, and check to see if any happens to contain exotic species from as far as Africa. That way, the country will know about its impact on the bushmeat trade.
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