Charlie enjoying his last mango the night before the flight. (Photo courtesy of Animals Lebanon)
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The April rescue of Charlie the chimpanzee from a Beirut zoo marked the culmination of an eight-year struggle by NGO Animals Lebanon to secure the primate's freedom.Charlie was the last remaining chimpanzee in Lebanon, says Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, who moved to the country from Africa in 2006 to combat the prevalence of trafficking of chimpanzees and other exotic animals. Over the past eight years Animals Lebanon have successfully rescue two other chimpanzees, shipping them to sanctuaries in Brazil and the U.K., but Mier explains that the operation to confiscate Charlie from Beirut's Animal City zoo took so long because of the dangers posed by unsuccessful rescue attempts. The law eventually went into effect in Lebanon in May 2013 .The judge's ruling in Charlie's case could help the organization rescue animals in similar situations in the future, Mier speculates.Since the ratification of the CITES convention and the onset of the war in Syria, Mier says, animal smuggling in Lebanon has lessened somewhat.
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