Kinshasa, DR Congo
VIJAY SHAH via AGRIMA TIKADER/International Business Times
A four-star hotel in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been condemned after it was revealed its restaurant was serving bushmeat from baby chimpanzees on the menu as a luxury dinner.
According to the International Business Times, the Beatrice Hotel, located in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, was selling diners smoked ape meat for around CDF 59,400 (GBP £27, USD $35.28) per plate despite the chimp being considered an endangered species. The dish requires a full twenty-four hours to be prepared, according to the Times website.
An unnamed hotel manager claimed that the appearance of the dish on the Beatrice’s à la carte menu was a printing error from the menu’s supplier. Hotel staff also claimed that the restaurant did not serve smoked chimp. The Beatrice’s owner, André Kadima, claimed to have been away at the time the menus were printed, and upon discovering the botched print run, ordered all the incorrect menus to be recalled and destroyed, and new ones omitting the reference to smoked ape issued in their place. Speaking to The Times Kadima stated that he admired chimpanzees and understood their environmental importance. He assured readers that the hotel never served any illegal meat.
However witnesses claimed that the smoked chimp meat dish was regularly served to tourists and wealthy locals alike, despite hunting chimpanzees being illegal in the Congo. The dish was referred to on the menu by its local French name “bébé chimpanzé fumé”, which translates as “smoked baby chimp”. The consumption of the flesh of great apes and monkeys, known to Westerners as bushmeat, is common in the region, but has been blamed for endangering our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, as well as introducing HIV/AIDS.
The Beatrice Hotel’s unorthodox dining experience was uncovered by local animal charity Conserve Congo, which subsequently filed a legal complaint against the hotel. Conserve Congo’s director, Adams Cassinga, told the International Business Times that the dish and chimpanzee meat was popular with locals who consumed it for cultural reasons or simply out of curiosity, but that trade in chimpanzee flesh served in upscale restaurants was also been fuelled by increasing numbers of visitors from Asia. The demand for bushmeat sees hunters slaughtering adult chimps and other endangered primates, while their babies are usually sold off into the worldwide illegal pet trade.
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“Four-star hotel in hot water for serving £27 plates of smoked baby chimpanzee” – Agrima Tikader, International Business Times/IBTimes Co., Ltd. (10 January 2020) https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/four-star-hotel-hot-water-serving-27-plates-smoked-baby-chimpanzee-1674369/