Wednesday, February 1, 2017


When judging revelations, scoops and exclusives in the news, you expect to respond with at least "Well, I never". When the BBC's David Shukman and his team "exposed a secret animal trafficking network" over the last two nights on BBC1, I might have been surprised if it had been a public operation.

Still, it brought us adorable Nemley Junior, a small chimpanzee in a nappy, after lumps of careful, let's-not-be-too-ready-to-condemn Trump dough. Mr Shukman had not chosen to highlight the plight of the edgier Slow Lloris, or the tinier Pygmy Marmoset, known as the Thumb Monkey, or the scaly-anteater, the Pangolin, the most trafficked mammal in the world - all perhaps more at risk.  Nor did his tv piece include the online quote from the Secretary General of CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) John Scanlon saying he did not believe there was a surge in the illegal trade in great apes, including chimpanzees. “If we did, I can assure you there would be a rush of attention to this issue and a rush of resources to stop it, but we are not seeing it.”

How secret was all this ?  Last year, BBC News told us there were Facebook pages offering all sorts of wildlife. As recently as December, BBC News brought us an online piece about a trafficked chimp.

If you want more of the same revelation, there's a radio documentary version at 0930 on the World Service; there's a half-hour tv version, being shown four times over the weekend on BBC News, and three times on BBC World News. Oh, and a Facebook vertical video version.  And I'm sure there'll be a follow-up on Nemley Junior, won't there ?

  • Moral dilemma: The BBC seems to have shopped the Ivory Coast dealer to the police. Has Ed Thomas shopped the Liverpool las showing him giant knives to the scuffers ?

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