Survey sites for bushmeat market analyses by IDECC. Click on the map to enlarge....
Innovative approaches for the study of the
bushmeat trade in West Africa
Terrestrial game vertebrates and fish are central to the nutritional wellbeing of many rural people, particularly in tropical forest regions where access to farmed plant protein and livestock are limited (Fa et al. 2002; Golden et al. 2011). However, heavy reliance on these wild food protein sources may lead to the overexploitation of many species, and in turn affect the food security and social welfare of those people dependent on them (Nasi et al. 2011). Multidisciplinary approaches are urgently needed that combine ecological, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions affecting the demand for fish and bushmeat especially in more vulnerable global ecoregions such as mangrove and flooded forest habitats.
The inhabitants of several densely populated regions in West Africa have depleted most of their wildlife and fish, with the result that they have started looking elsewhere for protein sources. Knowledge of the use or impact of bushmeat and fish in our regions of scientific interest by the resident human communities is limited. Although several studies exist where the importance of fish and bushmeat in the diets of rural people in West and Central have been determined, there is no research of the drivers or the potential inter-relation between fishing, hunting and cultural and socio-economic links.
IDECC research scientists, in collaboration with our member John E. Fa, professor at the Metropolitan University of Manchester and Visiting professor at the Imperial College, have developed an innovative multitask approach to investigate the Bushmeat Trade at the scale of West Africa, with emphasis on Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Niger Republic.
IDECC staff has been gathering monthly data on household patterns of bushmeat hunting and fishing, consumption of these wild resources alongside other food sources, as well as livelihood variables, by employing a combination of field surveys and dissemination of structured interviews using questionnaires to monitor resource use in the different seasons.
The species that are mainly targeted by our project, among those of high conservation interest, are: Centrochelys sulcata, Kinixys homeana, Kinixys erosa, Mecistops cataphractus, Osteolaemus tetraspis (Reptiles); Pan troglodytes, Cercopithecus sclateri, Cercopithecus erythrogaster, Cercocebus torquatus, Piliocolobus epieni (Mammals: Primates); and the locally endangered (but globally considered Vulnerable) Trichechus senegalensis, Loxodonta Africana cyclotis and Hippopotamus amphibius.