LONDON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain in a lucrative black market, authorities said.
Officials uncovered the illegal bush meat from the endangered species while testing samples seized from vendors in the Midlands, the Daily Mail reported Monday.
"It is well known this practice is under way in the region but I was shocked to discover the meat that was tested was once a chimpanzee," a government source told the newspaper.
"Dubious meat is often tested, and has turned out to be things like rats and vermin in the past -- but chimpanzee is unbelievable," the source said.
The word bush meat is used to describe the flesh of wild animals hunted in places such as West and Central Africa, but also in Asia and the Americas.
The meat, which can sell for more than $15 a pound, is part of a lucrative black market trade that experts say is "rife" in Europe.
At least 5 tons of bush meat arrives in Europe every week to be distributed across the continent, said Marcus Rowcliffe, a research fellow at the Zoological Society of London.
"I'm not at all surprised that bush meat is on sale in the Midlands because we know the trade is going on in the United Kingdom and that there is a regular flow of smuggled meat into the country," he said.