Chimpanzees kidnapped from shelter and held hostage

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The monkeys, aged between 2 and 5, were abducted earlier this month when a gang broke into the JACK Primate Rehabilitation Center in the middle of the night.

“It’s a nightmare… it was such a disaster,” the center’s founder, Franck Chantereau, told the Mongabay environmental agency. “We have been facing many challenges for 18 years. But we have never experienced anything like it: the abduction of monkeys.”

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Monkey abduction could be world’s first

JACK is one of three monkey sanctuaries in the war-ravaged Central African country. It is home to about 40 chimpanzees and other primates, such as the endangered golden-bellied mangabey. The organization is working with law enforcement agencies to save the chimpanzees.

Adams Cassinga, of ConservCongo, a Congolese NGO that investigates wildlife crime, told reporters it may be the world’s first monkey abduction.

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“This is very rare, this is the first time, not just in Africa but in the world, that I’ve heard of this. We’ve heard [of] people who use wildlife as a shield or as a political or social agenda. This is the first time I’ve heard of people literally kidnapping animals so they can ask for money,” he said.

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