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Additional info for Animal Spy: Animal Welfare Behind Enemy Lines
He was cunning, untrustworthy and no mug. Just how far his arm could reach we’d see later. Meantime, I had the easy task of buying Ernie beer in our hotel bar and fixing up an appointment through him with the top brass at Accra Zoo, who would certify my wild monkeys as bred in captivity, physically sound and free of disease. We wanted to take video footage at the zoo but we had the same problem as before in the government office. In the heat of mid morning, nobody would wear the amount of clothing needed to conceal a camera, so we flew a kite.
Why did I want to do this? He’d never been into the bush to see the trapping, nor had Albert, so why should I? The monkeys came in from the villages, he took delivery, paid up the monkey-catchers’ pesawas and that was that. If you didn’t need to do something, you didn’t do it, full stop. That was Ernie’s philosophy, along with buy cheap, sell dear. There are 100 pesawas to the cedi, and at that time £60 would buy you 1 million cedi, so now we knew what he was paying for his monkeys. Without hard evidence of catching in the wild, that is, filming the trapping of monkeys which could then be traced through the system, we had no case, so I was very anxious indeed to persuade him.
Inside was not an ostrich egg but an ostrich head, wizened and mummified, rather like the woman selling it. She was quite offended when it was explained to her that dried ostrich heads made terrible bedside lamps. Seeing as he was laughing so much, I extracted 50 pence worth of Ghanaian money out of Bryn and grandma seemed happy with that, happy enough anyway we hoped not to change herself into a vulture and perch on our hotel window sill. 41 ANIMAL SPY Our guide, like all such in any bazaar or souk in the world, was not put off in the slightest by this failure but pressed cheerfully on, taking us further and further into the market, which seemed to go on for ever.