Johannesburg, South Africa, 1-5 March 2004


Table of Contents



I. Bushmeat Crisis

1 – 5

II. Bushmeat Utilization and Crisis

6 – 11

III. Bushmeat Commercialization and Consumption

12 – 14

IV. Harvest Rates

15 – 22

V. Economic and Social Value of Bushmeat

23 – 25

VI. Threatened Bushmeat Species

26 – 29

VII. Public Health, Food Safety and Bushmeat Consumption

30 – 35

VIII. Regulatory Frameworks for Bushmeat Trade

36 – 50

IX. Framework for the Collection of Bushmeat

51 – 59




I. Bushmeat Crisis

1. The unsustainable bushmeat utilization in West and Central Africa is currently one of the most important food security and biodiversity conservation challenges facing the region. (Fig.1)

2. Communities in this region, as in many parts of Africa, have from time immemorial depended on locally available biological resources for food, medicine and materials for shelter. Hunting and bushmeat utilization has been integral part of the age-old traditional livelihood in the region. In addition to providing for the family protein (animal) needs, many communities make their living primarily through bushmeat trade.

3. However, in recent times, the demand for bushmeat by the insatiable consumer market, has reached a level exceeding the capacity of wildlife habitat to sustainably produce sufficient supplies. The ever-increasing human populations in the West and Central Africa and the demands resulting from increasing poverty, many of the regions ecosystems, habitats and wildlife species have succumbed to unsustainable practices (i.e. slash and burn farming) and over-exploitation (i.e. logging and commercial bushmeat trade).

4. There has therefore, been a dramatic decline of many species in recent decades. The populations of many keystone species are near the brink of extinction. Indeed, one such extinction may have already occurred in West Africa with the apparent disappearance of a primate sub-species, Procolobus badius Waldroni (Miss Waldrom’s Red Colobus) from all previously occupied localities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (Oates et al, 1997, 2000).

5. The problem has now risen to crisis proportions due to the increased access to previously remote areas through industrial large-scale logging practices and the accompanying road development. The widespread use of sophisticated weapon and use of pesticides for hunting (CI-Ghana 2002) and the lure of economic gains through bushmeat commercialization have exacerbated the crisis in the region.

II. Bushmeat Utilization and Crisis

6. The bushmeat crisis can be attributed to a range of factors. Caspary (1999) points out that rural populations are increasingly basing their livelihoods on both subsistence farming and bushmeat hunting. Majority of West Africans and a limited number from the Central African Region earn a living through subsistence agriculture, which is now yielding minimal revenue. Rural populations have complemented their incomes by exploiting wildlife and other natural resources for commercial purposes. As the population of the rural communities grow, the demand for bushmeat increases. At the same time, however, the growing destruction of natural areas in West Africa in particular, has led to an increased loss of habitats that sustain wildlife populations.

7. In West Africa, savanna zones have been severely degraded by the overgrazing of communal pastures by domestic animals. This, together with timber exploitation and conversion of forests into agriculture, have turned natural habitats into islands surrounded by agricultural domains (Caspary 1999). Caspary points out that such Mosaic landscapes severely hinder or even prevent the seasonal migration of animals and precipitate a shift in the diversity of wildlife in favour of those species that are able to survive in degraded habitats and in agricultural environments.

8. Wildlife in West Africa and many parts of Central Africa is under pressure not only from rising demand for bushmeat by rural populations but also from the shrinking and degradation of the places that most wildlife can comfortably survive. According to Parren and de Graff (1995), West Africa lost 60% or more of its forest areas by the 1980, in turn precipitating tremendous declines of wildlife populations (Martin 1991). The pressure on wildlife varies from country to countries and from ecological zone to another.

9. The extent of commercialisation of bushmeat trade also varies. In Cote d’Ivoire, where 55% of the male population age 15 and above (approximately 1.4 million) consider themselves to be hunters, attitudes towards wildlife demonstrate the level of dependence on wildlife resources for livelihood (Caspary 1999). More than half of these hunters (52%) according to Caspary are between 20 and 40 years of age. Young hunters both in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana especially view hunting as a supplementary source of income. It has also been estimated that about 90% of hunters in Cote d’Ivoire work in the agricultural sector (Caspary 1999).

10. In Cote d’Ivoire, for example, the annual volume of bushmeat production in 1996 was estimated at about 77 billion FCFA, the equivalent of 1.4% of the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Caspary). Caspary emphasizes that during that period, bushmeat production proceeds exceeded that of several products in the primary sector, such as banana or pineapples, and its value was close to that of timber production.

11. A regional scale assessment of bushmeat utilization is lacking, however, and very few countries have been studied in detail at the national level. In one of the earliest documentations of bushmeat use in West Africa, Cremoux (1963, cited in Ntiamoa-Baidu 1997) reported that an estimated 373,600 metric tons of bushmeat were consumed per year in the Senegal River valley. Total annual consumption of bushmeat in Ghana has been estimated at 385,000 metric tons (William Oduro, pers. comm.), and Anstey (1991) estimated an annual yield of 105,000 metric tons from subsistence hunting alone in Liberia. Adeola and Decker (1987), studying bushmeat production in three ecological zones (rain forest, deciduous forest and savannah) over a six-month period produced an estimate of 1,320,000 metric tons for a six-month period. In Cote d’Ivoire, off-take of wildlife by communal hunters in forest and savannah areas was estimated at about 120,000 metric tons (Caspary 1999). In both the Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire studies, bushmeat production estimates were significantly higher in savannah than in the forest region, attesting to critical differences in wildlife density and biomass between the two zones.

III. Bushmeat Commercialization and Consumption

12. Although bushmeat utilization in West Africa is primarily subsistence, commercial trade also provides significant contributions to human livelihood, generating income for a large number of people (hunters, retailers and transporters) in both rural and urban areas (Ntiamoah-Baidu 1997; Caspary 1999). In a region where informal sectors predominate, bushmeat commerce plays a significant role in the national economy. The actual value of bushmeat consumed or traded has not been determined at the regional level for West Africa, but most likely amounts to over a billion dollars each year, based on estimates made at the national levels. In Ghana, for example, annual trade of bushmeat in local markets has been estimated at more than $80,000 whilst the total consumed is believed to worth nearly $350 million each year (William Oduro, pers.comm.). Caspary (1999) noted that bushmeat in Cote d’Ivoire in 1996 was worth Franc CFA 77 billion (approximately 1.4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the same year). Anstey (1991) suggested a figure of $42 million annually for Liberia. Commercialization is driven by both demand (mainly where urban markets exist) and supply (when professional hunters are equipped enough to make productive hunts), and the trade occurs nationally as well as across borders (Caspary 1999; Oates 1999).

13. Patterns of bushmeat consumption vary considerably across the region, but national level assessments are few. Asibey (1977) suggested that 70% of Ghanaians ate bushmeat, but based on more recent surveys (cited in Ntiamoah-Baidu 1997), the figure is probably closer to 90%. Teleki et al. (1981) noted that 55% of all households in Sierra Leone regularly consume bushmeat. In Cote d’Ivoire, an estimated 86% and 77% of rural and urban populations, respectively, consumed bushmeat (Caspary 1999). According to Chardonnet et al. (1995, cited in Caspary 1999), per capita consumption of bushmeat for the entire West African sub-region averaged between 34.4 and 51.6 g/person/day. At the national level, Caspary (1999) estimated 30.4 g/person/day (for rural areas) and 8.7 g/person/day (in urban areas) of bushmeat consumed in Cote d’Ivoire. The actual protein contribution of bushmeat to West African diets has not been fully assessed, although Ntiamoa-Baidu (1997) suggests that it is presently very low.

14. In Central Africa, market surveys carried out by Wilkie et al. show that:

  1. residents of Congo Basin countries eat as much meat as many residents of northern industrial countries (average of 47 kg/person/year versus 30 kg/person/year); urban families eat less bushmeat than rural families, however, urban demand for bushmeat may, given population distribution, exceed rural demand;
  2. bushmeat constitutes the primary source of meat for most residents of the Congo Basin.
  3. The gross quantity of bushmeat consumed in forest and urban areas across the Congo Basin may exceed 1 million metric tons per year, i.e. the equivalent of almost 4 million cattle.

IV. Harvest Rates

15. There is extremely limited published research on harvest rates for key bushmeat wildlife species in West Africa. The historical trends, however, are likely similar to what is being documented in the Central African region today. Bowen-Jones and Pendry (1999) detail the development and growth of the bushmeat trade in West and Central Africa, showing the combined linkages resulting in simultaneous increases in bushmeat supply and demand. They suggest it is the increase in overall populations both in rural and urban communities that contribute to the dramatic increases in bushmeat demand.

16. Accurate harvest rates by country or for the region are extremely difficult to determine, as seasonality and locality significantly affect levels of off-take, as well as availability of animals.

17. The studies from Central Africa show both the promise and constraints of field studies on bushmeat harvests. For example, in southern Central African Republic, Noss (1998b) found an annual snare harvest rate of 3.3 for blue duiker (Cephalophus monticola), 3.1 for Peter’s duiker (C. callipygus), 0.6 for bay duiker, and 0.9 for porcupines. However, Hart (2000) reported a harvest rate of 10.2 blue duiker/ km2/year in net hunts as against 1.6 blue duiker/km2/year for snare hunts. Hart also found harvest rates for red duikers at 4.1/km2/year for net hunts and 0.49/km2/year for snare hunts. Using a different methodology, Eves and Rggicro (1999) determined a harvest rate based on amount of meat produced per unit time of effort hunting (Estimated Rate of Return – ERR-kg/hour) and discovered shotgun hunting during the day produced a mean of 2.67 (±3.46) kg/hour, shotgun hunting at night produced a mean of 3.57 (±3.96) kg/hour, and snare hunting produced a mean of 6.59 (±4.26) kg/hour. Though the results of each of these studies are informative, they are difficult to compare locally or more broadly.

18. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hart also found the antelope off-take from net hunting ranged from 62 to 92% of total capture, with large percentages of the resulting meat being produced for sale to external or local markets. This study also reported densities of duikers in unhunted areas ranging from 21.4 – 44.8/km2, with an average harvest in hunted areas of 15.9 individuals/km2/year. Hart (2000) found that, compared to unharvested populations, harvested populations of red duiker exhibited trends toward younger age structures, suggesting less resilience to hunting pressure than the smaller, blue duiker.

19. In the absence of available harvest rate data for most areas, the availability of a variety of bushmeat in markets can offer a view of both consumer preferences as well as a reflection of the resource base. Anstey (1991) found that nearly half (48%) of the bushmeat available in urban Liberian markets was from duikers, with rodent (20%) and primate (20%) meat also in strong supply. In the rural areas, Anstey reported that the majority of species collected (75%) were antelopes. Anadu et al. (1988) found similar patterns of preference and availability in markets of southwestern Nigeria. Through interviews with hunters and market vendors, Anadu et al. found that consumers preferred cane rats (Thryonomys swinderianus), Maxwell’s duiker, porcupines, and bushpig (Potamorchorus porcus). Nearly all of the frequently captured species were said to have been more common 15-20 years before the study period (1982) and the majority of interviews were with vendors who had been actively selling bushmeat for more than 10 years. In northern Cameroon, Njoforti (1996) found similar preference patterns. Porcupines specifically were the most preferred bushmeat, and were reported by respondents to be declining.

20. Other studies of consumption have shown consistent results about the demand for bushmeat across West Africa. In a 1974 study, Asibey observed consumption of bushmeat in the northern province of Cote d’Ivoire to be 0.03 kg/person/day. Feer et al. (1995) found that in rural areas of Cote d’Ivoire, annual estimated consumption of bushmeat remained at about 0.03 kg/person/day (11.08 kg/person/day (Caspary 1999). Steel (1994 in Caspary 1999) estimated 0.029 kg/person/day of bushmeat in Liberia was consumed in 1989/90. Figures for Ghana (Asibey 1988 in Caspary 1999) suggest nearly 80% of animal protein consumed is from wildlife though no figures for per person daily consumption were provided.

21. These daily bushmeat consumption figures are less than those estimated in Central African studies where rural residents in northern Congo consumed an average of 0.07 kg/person/day (Eves and Ruggiero 1999), logging community residents in Central African Republic consumed an average of 0.06 kg/person/day (Noss 1995), and logging camp residents in Congo consumed 0.16 to 0.29 kg/person/day (Auzel 1996 in Wilkie et al. 1998). Based on Njiforti’s (1966) study in northern Cameroon, people in the region consume about 0.02 kg/person/day, results that are similar to those found in the West African countries under consideration.

22. Due to the dramatic losses of habitat, increase in population, and advanced stage of bushmeat commerce in many areas of the region, and based on current trends in Central Africa, declines in wildlife resource availability may account for the decline seen in some harvest and consumption rates (as suggested by the studies in Cote d’Ivoire).

V. Economic and Social Value of Bushmeat

23. Hunting typically contributes between 30 to 80% of protein consumed by forest-dwelling families in the Congo Basin. People eat bushmeat for various reasons. Some argue that bushmeat is a cultural preference and cite consumers’ willingness to pay a price premium over domestic meat for the privilege of eating bushmeat. Steel (1994) found in Libreville, Gabon that the average price for the most popular bushmeat species was $3.7 per kg – over 1.6 times the price of the most popular cut of beef. More recent evidence suggests simply that bushmeat is often the only source of animal protein available and tends to be cheaper than domestic substitutes. Gally and Jeanmart (1996) found that the price of bushmeat per kilo was 0.10-0.25 times the price of available substitutes in three markets in Cameroon, Congo and the CAR. In Bayanga, CAR, beef prices are 2-3 times the price of bushmeat (Noss, 1998). Similarly, a kilogram of bushmeat in various towns near the Ngotto forest in CAR ranged from $0.32-0.75, whereas goat was $1.75/kg, chickens were $3.52/kg and caterpillars are relatively expensive $3.65/kg (Delvingt, 1997).

24. Though numerous studies exist documenting bushmeat entering markets, few have documented the economic value of bushmeat to the hunter and trader (Ambrose-Oji, Doolan, 1997). Noss (1998) reports that snare hunters trapping within the Dzanga-Sangha special forest reserve in southwestern CAR earn between $400-700 per year. Hunters earn more than CAR’s official minimum wage, and an amount comparable to guards employed by the park ($450-$625 per year). In the CIB logging concession in northern Congo, residents of the logging camp and a village on the Sangha river that had access to markets for bushmeat, on average sold between 36-52% of all bushmeat captured, and generated income of approximately $300 per household/year (Wilkie et al., Fimbel, Grajal, and Robinson, 2000). As logging concession employees earn about $4-12/day, bushmeat sales contribute between 6-40% of all households’ daily income (Wilkie et al., Fimbel, Grajal, and Robinson, 2000).

25. Gally and Jeanmart (1996) demonstrated the benefits that are received by hunters, traders and restaurant owners who sell bushmeat, by tracing the sale of 3 monkeys killed with a shotgun. In this case the hunter netted $6.3 (30% profit) from the sale of the monkeys, the trader made $10.2 (19% profit), and the restauranteur made $20.6 (21% profit). These authors also reported that the economic returns to six hunters in Cameroon generated an annual income from hunting that ranged from $330-1058, an amount well above the national average. In Congo, Dethier (1995) showed that hunters generated between $250-1050 per year from selling bushmeat. Near the Dja reserve in Cameroon, Ngnegueu and Fotso (1996) showed that individual hunters could generate as much as $650 per year from selling bushmeat. In the six months of their study 30 hunters generated over $9500 in income from bushmeat sales.

VI. Threatened Bushmeat Species

26. In West Africa, the forest dependant duikers have become increasingly vulnerable to hunting due to loss of suitable habitats, for example, populations of Jentink’s duiker (Cephalophus jentinki) and zebra duiker (C. zebra), which are both listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Hilton-Taylor 2000), are now restricted to only few forest blocks within their small natural range in the Upper Guinea forest. The elusive bongo (Boocerus euryceros) and forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer) are also restricted to relatively few intact habitats within the region, but hunted wherever they occur. Populations of other large mammals such as the elephant (Loxodonta africana) and pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) are still poorly represented in protected areas within the forest region, although elephants still occur in reasonable large numbers across Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso and Mali (Roth and Douglas-Hamilton 1991; AESG 1999). The use of elephants for bushmeat has not been well studied in West Africa, and hunting still occurs despite restrictions imposed by the global ivory ban.

27. Primates are also heavily hunted throughout West Africa; particularly forest-dependent species are the most affected. At least two sub-species of cercopithecines (the Roloway Monkey, (Cercopithecus diana Roloway); and the white napped Mangabey, (Cercocebus atys lunulatus), colobines (Miss Waldron’s Red colobus, Procolobus badius waldroni); and the black-and-white colobus, Colobus vellorosus) with very restricted distribution are now threatened with extinction (McGraw 1998; Oates et al. 1997, 2000). Oates et al. (1997, 2000) declared Miss Waldron’s red colobus extinct after surveys failed to obtain evidence of its survival in any of the remaining forests within its natural range. The western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), West Africa’s most dominant great ape has also suffered severe population declines throughout region (IUCN 1996). Although the fate of chimpanzees is closely linked to loss of habitat, the potential for local extirpation due to hunting has been reported for some countries such as Cote d’Ivoire (Hoppe-Dominik 1991); Caspary 1999; Struhsaker and Bakarr 2000), Guinea (Sugiyama and Soumah 1988), and Sierra Leone (Teleki 1980). The impact of hunting on West Africa’s only other great ape, the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), range of which extends from Cross River in Nigeria into Western Cameroon, has not been fully documented.

28. In addition to these well-documented cases of species under threat from habitat loss and hunting, the West African landscape carries a range of species that tend to be more resilient. For example, Maxwell’s duker (Cephalophus maxwelli) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), the most frequently hunted of all antelopes in the forests of West Africa, are fairly widespread and known to occupy a range of habitats, including farmbush. Similarly, the spot-nosed monkey (cercopithecus petaurista), vervet (C. aethiops) and Campbell’s monkey (C.campbelli) are among the most widespread primates in their natural range, occupying a variety of disturbed habitats including farmbush. Such disturbed habitats are also a haven for many small rodents that make up a significant proportion of bushmeat throughout the region. In particularly, the grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) and African giant rat (Cricetomys gambianus) are two of the most abundant species hunted specifically for bushmeat. Other small mammals such as the porcupine (Hysterix cristata) and pangolin (Manis gigantean), however, do need remnant forest patches within their range to thrive fully.

29. Although patterns of use (production and consumption) vary considerably, all large and small mammals are hunted within the region, but exhibit different degrees of vulnerability based on their ecological and behavioral characteristics. Species that are highly forest dependent already have depleted populations, whereas resilient species continue to survive in disturbed habitats.

VII. Public Health, Food Safety and Bushmeat Consumption

30. Major concerns regarding public health food safety arise from the consumption of bushmeat which may contain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals used in hunting, and from human contact with animal pathogens.

31. Surveys of the bushmeat trade carried out in Ghana in 2001-02 by the Ghana Standards Board, and by Conservation International in collaboration with FAO, have revealed that 30 percent or more of bushmeat samples collected for analysis contained chemical poisons such as organochlorines, carbamates and organophosphorus, elements commonly found in pesticides. The use of chemicals as bait is illegal in Ghana, and the implications for human health have not yet been assessed.

32. The evolution of human activity in relation to wild animals has contributed to the emergence of new viral risks that may affect a broad range of human populations. The recent outbreaks of Ebola in Central Africa, of Rift Valley Fever in West Africa, and of Congo-Crimea Hemorrhagic Fever in East Africa attest to this.

33. Filoviruses remain among the least understood of all viruses known to man. Many studies in Central Africa have illustrated the seroprevalence of the viruses Ebola and Marburg, and have documented the clinical aspects and transmission patterns of outbreaks. Higher seropositivity of Ebola among forest dwellers may be explained by their frequent contact with wildlife, which they hunt for their subsistence or for exchange with neighbouring villagers, and some species of primate meat are implicated in the transmission of infection.

34. Recent research in the Central African Republic (CAR) and elsewhere suggest the role that logging may have in the epidemiology of Ebola and other viruses. Both through direct effects and through the incursion of husbandry and pastoralism to feed growing communities of labourers, the logging industry plays important roles in the circulation, seroprevalence, and possible emergence of Ebola among both people and animals.

35. Other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, are believed to have long been present as pathogens among human populations, but are correctly being reconsidered in the context of recent research confirming the correlation between closely related forms of these diseases in human and non-human primates. Both HIV-1 and HIV-2 are of zoonotic origin, and the closest simian relatives of HIV-1 and HIV-2 have been found in the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the sooty mangabey (Cercocebus atys). Serologic evidence of SIV infection has so far been documented in 26 primate species, and surveys in Central Africa has shown that much of the primate meat sold for consumption derives from infected monkeys, and that a comparable number of pet monkeys also carry SIV. This does not indicate that the meat is dangerous to eat, rather that the risk for acquiring SIV infection would be expected to be highest in persons who hunt primates and prepare their meat for consumption, as well as in persons who keep primates as pets.

VIII. Regulatory Frameworks for Bushmeat Trade

36. Countries in West and Central Africa have various forms of legislation and policies dealing with the hunting and marketing of bushmeat. It is important to point out that although some national policies do recognize that wildlife populations are being seriously depleted (for example policies in Ghana and Guinea), no legislation in West Africa addresses the bushmeat problem per se. (Kormos and Baker 1999).

37. Ghana Forest and Wildlife Policy comes closest to directly addressing the bushmeat crisis by acknowledging the problem of over-hunting, habitat loss, and by outlining a number of strategies that could be used to address the bushmeat crisis. These potential strategies include reserve expansion, education and awareness campaigns, public participation, research, institutional strengthening and the development of environmental incentives.

38. The Wildlife and National Parks Act of Liberia is also very general, yet it includes a range of mechanisms that could form the core of a very effective bushmeat conservation strategy, including provisions for controlled hunting areas and communal forest designations, regular wildlife surveys and broad enforcement powers for Forestry Development Authority (FDA) officers.

39. In Ghana and Sierra Leone, no legislation focuses on constructing an appropriate balance between use and conservation, but rather centers on hunting licenses and regulations and on protecting individual species (Kormos and Bakarr).

40. A second problem with legislation in the region is that many of the statutes link wildlife protection and protected areas too closely, resulting in a variety of negative consequences. For example, in Sierra Leone, hunting is completely restricted only in protected areas, which greatly restricts the range for wildlife protection. Kormos and Bakarr have observed that a second consequence of linking wildlife protection and protected areas is that, game wardens or park rangers/wildlife department staff become the only authorities who are both familiar with and have the authority to enforce hunting regulations. As a result, despite the legislation in many countries placing country-wide limits on hunting (e.g. on use of fire or traps, hunting seasons, or prohibitions against hunting females with young), the chances that these provisions will be enforced outside of the parks are very low.

41. In Ghana, as part of the restrictions on hunting, an annual closed season covering the period 1st August to 1st December of every year has been imposed under the Wildlife Reserves Regulation of 1971. The regulation prohibited hunting, capture or destruction of any wild animal except certain specified species. During the 2001 annual closed season, as many as 3000 animals were killed for the markets (CI/FAO 2001). The survey listed 47 different species of wild animals that were sold on the Ghanaian market, with 14 of them being wholly protected in Ghana, but were killed with impunity. The survey also revealed that some totems such as the Crested Porcupine (Hystrix sp., Totem of Asante King) and Buffalo (Syncerus caffer, totem of the Ekona clan of Ashanti) were also hunted and sold. This practice is traditionally prohibited, as totems were revered as sacred animals by many tribes and clans, particularly chiefs who use them as symbols of authority.

42. In other countries, wildlife legislation is linked to protected areas systems. This, in the view of Kormos and Bakarr (1999), perpetuates the belief that wildlife conservation strategies can succeed based solely on the protection afforded wildlife in protected areas. It has been observed that relying solely on protected areas as a wildlife conservation strategy is not a viable approach, not only because in many countries not enough land is protected to ensure the habitat necessary to sustain viable species populations, but also because the bushmeat problem has become greatly exacerbated by the logging industry that theoretically operates outside of protected areas such as parks.

43. It has also been observed that most of the legislations are neither consistent with nor in anyway take local customs and norms into account. Thus, the policy adhered to throughout the region, namely that wildlife belongs to the state and is managed by the state on behalf of the people is not consistent with the traditional norm of local ownership of wildlife and natural resources that prevails in most of the countries in West and Central Africa.

44. However, the issue of integrating local custom and national law is receiving attention. Efforts have been made to recognize the need for local participation in natural resource management, the need to set aside communal forests, local dependence on bushmeat for protein and other issues related to the lives and livelihoods of local people. Sierra Leone has taken this one step further by developing a number of processes requiring approval by a paramount chief before proceeding with a hunt for bushmeat. Guinea has similarly, acknowledged the realities of the local people by revising legislation to lift restrictions on a hunter’s ability to sell bushmeat locally during the hunting season and allow hunters to sell surplus meat outside the hunting season (sharing the revenue with the local community).

45. In Ghana, the Wildlife Division in collaboration with other stakeholders is promoting Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) in many communities. The objective of the CREMA is largely to involve the communities in wildlife management by helping communities to set aside forest lands for wildlife farming. This is to provide income, protein and employment for the community members as well as establish or expand wildlife corridors/habitats. Even though the pilot state of strategy is pretty young, many communities have approached the Wildlife Division for assistance to participate in the process.

46. An increasingly wide audience in the West has begun to recognize the importance of problems precipitated by the bushmeat trade, particularly those aspects of trade that are based inside protected areas or in logging concessions (Ammann 1998).

47. This recognition has had effects on the image of most of the countries in West and Central Africa, particularly Cameroon, Congo and Liberia in the international conservation community.

48. Media campaigns on biodiversity and related issues have had a great impact on other sectors of co-operation, for example, with the European Union (EU). An example of such collaboration includes efforts focused on road improvements in main forest areas (Rain Forest Foundation 98) promoted by the belief that these operations exacerbate the illegal and lucrative trade in wildlife because of the need to feed logging workers as well as those beyond the logging roads area (Auzel and Hardin 1999). Although some of those campaigns have been simplistic and reactionary in ignoring the complexity of development issues in forested areas of West and Central Africa, they have succeeded in drawing attention to the impacts of policies like logging and wildlife extermination.

49. The work of CBD (Convention on Biodiversity) and CITES have also been instrumental in helping governments to shape policies. However, TRAFFIC and IIED (Roe et al. 2002) conclude there are examples where CITES action has reduced income available to local communities without bringing any obvious conservation benefit.

50. In the same way, others have questioned the benefits that GEF has brought to the local communities if wildlife is considered as international public good, the net benefits of which flow strongly to the north. The challenge is to find appropriate and fair mechanisms for ensuring that these goods continue to be supplied and that collective action by the poor is encouraged and the poor compensated for their role in safeguarding wildlife (LWAG Wildlife and Poverty Study 2002).

IX. Framework for the Collection of Bushmeat

51. Bushmeat exploitation is organized by the informal sector and produces most of the monetary income that can be derived from faunal resources of West and Central Africa. In Cote d’Ivoire, the annual value of bushmeat production in 1996 was estimated at 77 billion F.CFA, the equivalent of 1.4% of the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Caspary 1999).

52. Caspary (1999) reports that in Cote d’Ivoire, bushmeat production exceeds that of several products in the primary sector, such as bananas, or pineapples and its value close to that of timber production. He emphasizes further that annual bushmeat production is bound to generate additional revenue for the state once commercialization shifts out of the non-official realm.

53. Although hunting and bushmeat use in West and Central Africa have now been studied for over 30 years, much of the existing information is based on site-specific data, often collected over a short period of time (Casapary 1999). In the context of rapid changes in wildlife habitat, species extinctions, human population growth and forest exploitation. It became extremely difficult to formulate the baseline generalizations that are necessary to inform the national or sub-regional food statistics.

54. West and Central Africa may be entering an era where the bushmeat crisis is becoming a limiting factor in ensuring food security, socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation. The need to redirect the unsustainable bushmeat commercial trade is now an imperative duty. As repeatedly emphasized in the Agenda 21 of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, an up-to-date information is a pre-condition to the sustainable management of the natural resources. Information is needed to:

55. In order to achieve this there is the need for a stream of data, in the form of statistics which will serve as source of information. Data is needed in the following areas in an attempt to address the bushmeat crisis:

  1. bushmeat harvest rates for key bushmeat species
  2. bushmeat demand in the rural and urban areas
  3. hunting methods
  4. harvest totals
  5. consumer preferences
  6. market prices and substitutes
  7. types of bushmeat in the market
  8. daily bushmeat consumption
  9. trade routes for the market centers
  10. transportation routes
  11. renewal rates of species
  12. habitat loss and availability
  13. bushmeat market centers
  14. bushmeat commercialization operators
  15. tax systems and impacts
  16. revenue sharing system

56. A flexible and cost-effective framework which will involve the local traditional authorities, district authorities, NGOs, government agencies and the National Bureau of Statistics will be useful. The details of how the set of data should be processed and used for monitoring and planning activities at the local, national and regional level should be established. The structure basically could follow the OECD’s Pressure-State-Response Framework (PSR). This data collection framework mainly states that human activities extend pressure (land use changes) on the environment, which can induce changes in the state of the environment (e.g. changes in habitat diversity/society then responds to changes in pressure or state with environmental and economic policies and programmes intended to prevent, reduce or mitigate pressure and/or environmental change.

57. The framework is very simple and can be applied at any scale. The collection and processing of the bushmeat statistics becomes much easier if the framework is disaggregated into 3 main tables, i.e.:

Problem – Pressure – State – Response – Effects (PPSRE)
Problem – Pressure – Response – Effect (PPRE)
Problem – State – Response – Effects (PSRE)

58. This disaggregation will enable West and Central Africa to collect and process useful bushmeat and environmental statistics which will be user-oriented and will have wider applicability in terms of decision-making in an attempt to address the bushmeat crisis (Okyeame A. A. 1998).

59. The bushmeat crisis facing West and Central Africa is real and has the potential to destroy the food security and the biodiversity of the region within the next 20 years if not addressed as an urgent issue.


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The bushmeat crisis in Africa: conciliating food security and biodiversity conservation in the Continent.(Information item to the 23rd ARC)

In Africa, various studies have stressed the importance of wild meat or bush-meat in providing the essential of animal protein requirement to both rural and urban households. For example, it has been reported that 75% of Liberia’s meat supply come from wild animals. In Côte d’Ivoire, over a million hunters harvested around 120,000 tons of wild meat in 1996. This was more than twice the yearly production of meat from domestic livestock. A recent study in West Africa estimated the trade value of bush-meat at US $ 150 to 160 million annually. In Central Africa, intensive hunting for wild meat has led to serious threat of extinction of certain wildlife species such as gorillas, chimps and small antelopes.

In addition to the subsistence harvest by poor rural inhabitants for their protein needs, commercial hunting has also become an increasingly intensive activity by commercial hunters, who make large profit through over-exploitation of a readily available resource. Although generally considered illegal in many African countries, and currently under no formal regulation, commercial harvest of wild meat is still a serious threat, as hunting methods, not only are destructive to the wildlife population and sometimes to their habitat, but also can in some cases, be very harmful to game meat consumers.

Obviously, there are legitimate doubts about the sustainability of the use of bush-meat in much of Africa, and therefore, an urgent need to address the issue of environmentally destructive commercial hunting.

In Central and West Moist Africa, FAO has established strong partnership with Wildlife Divisions and International NGOs in terms of assessing and analyzing the bush-meat situation, raising awareness and developing partnerships with all stakeholders, in the search of viable options and ensure sustainable use of wildlife resources in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in Africa, whilst securing conservation of the Continent’s rich biological diversity.