The harvest of wild animals from land and sea is a major source of protein for more than a billion of Earth’s poorest inhabitants. Simultaneously, the unsustainable harvest of wild animals is one of the major threats to terrestrial biodiversity. Accurate global information on wild animal harvest and consumption is needed for reporting towards multiple international conventions and targets, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the FAO Food Security Indicators. Further, regional and national data on wildlife offtake and use are needed to inform national wildlife and food security policies.
The OFFTAKE project (www.OFFTAKE.org) aims to investigate the off take of wild terrestrial species globally, collating and analysing datasets on wild meat harvest, consumption and sales from around the world. Here we present an analysis of wild meat consumption in Central Africa using the OFFTAKE database. We investigate regional patterns of wild meat consumption (e.g. amounts and species consumed), significant predictors of wild meat consumption, and how wild meat consumption varies with alternative sources of protein, such as domestic meats and fish. We discuss what these results might mean in terms of hunting sustainability, how these results might influence conservation and development policies in the region, and how the OFFTAKE database can be used to support regional and global conservation and development policy decision-making.