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Nigeria: Keep Cocoa Growers Out of Gorilla Habitat!

Gorilla habitat is shrinking day by day, and one of the main drivers is the chocolate industry.

 

In Nigeria, cocoa farms are penetrating the last refuges of the endangered primates, driven by demand from chocolate lovers the world over.

 

We can’t let the last remaining tiny patches of gorillas’ forests be trashed for candy.

Nigeria gives rise to despair and small glimmers of hope: 96 percent of the country's forests are gone. One remaining bright spot is Cross River State in the southeast – its forests, which are among the world’s most biodiverse, are still home to gorillas.

Yet Cross River’s forests are also dying by a thousand cuts: More than 16,000 hectares were destroyed in 2017 – four times the previous year’s toll. The main causes of deforestation are illegal logging, palm oil plantations and the production of charcoal. Increasingly, cocoa plantations are encroaching on protected forests.

The ultimate driver of destruction, however, is the sweet tooth of consumers in the global North. Nigeria is the third-largest cocoa exporter in the world. The country is responsible for ten percent of the EU’s imports. Exports have grown by 65 percent over the past three years to 248,000 tons in 2018, with the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium being the largest importers.

In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – the world leaders in cocoa production – the destruction of forests has reached extreme proportions. Nearly all of Côte d’Ivoire’s protected areas have been plundered, and Ghana holds a sad world record for its rate of deforestation in 2018. The close link between cocoa cultivation and deforestation makes us fear the worst for Nigeria.

Chocolate companies buy whatever cocoa they can get, no questions asked. While environmentalists in Brussels are in fact pushing for the EU to regulate the market, the gorillas can’t wait that long.

The governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has it in his hands to protect the gorillas and their habitat.

 

Please sign our petition to the governor – we can’t let the last remaining tiny patches of gorilla habitat be trashed for candy.

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