In this first issue for 2015, we tackle bushmeat, or the harvesting of wild animals from forests for food and non-food purposes (medicine, culture, recreation). Bushmeat has long been a part of the diets of forest dwellers as an important source of protein, micronutrients, fats and also fibre and is increasingly consumed in urban areas. It is also an important source of income for many communities.
At the same time, the scale of wildlife hunting threatens important forest species and ecosystems. Compounding the problem is the threat of zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans – arising from bushmeat hunting, trade and consumption. Ebola is a recent reminder of this threat.
To help us better understand these challenges, Noëlle F. Kümpel, Andrew A. Cunningham, John E. Fa, Julia P.G. Jones, J. Marcus Rowcliffe and E.J. Milner-Gulland help us distinguish myth from reality and provide updates from the UK Bushmeat Working Group which met in January 2015. John E. Fa and Robert Nasi from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) share findings from a recent study on bushmeat and human nutrition. Christopher Golden, ecologist and epidemiologist tells us about the links between wildlife consumption and nutrition from experiences in Madagascar in this issue’s interview.
Read the full newsletter here.