Why eat wild meat? Insights from Africa and lessons for COVID-19 responses

04 Aug 2021, 13:00 - 14:30 BST, Online

This online event will explore why people eat wild meat and how to design interventions that can help improve sustainability and safety.

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused global attention on the safety of wildlife trade and consumption. Amid growing concerns around its impact on biodiversity conservation, there is recognition that wild meat is key for food security in many communities as well as global food systems.

This IIED Debates event will explore emerging research into why people eat wild meat and how this evidence can be used to help sustainable wild meat alternatives succeed.

Unsustainable hunting and consumption of wild meat is a known driver of biodiversity loss and can also have implications for public health. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a call for a total ban on wild meat trade and consumption.

Yet millions of people across the globe depend on wild meat as an important contribution to food security. In many rural areas, wild meat is the key source of protein in peoples’ diet and so preventing its consumption would pose a major threat to their livelihoods and wellbeing. It is therefore critical to improve understanding of why people eat wild meat, in order to design interventions that can help improve sustainability and safety.

At this online IIED Debates event, co-hosted by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University, The Conservation Foundation and Fondation Camerounaise Terra Vivante we will hear findings from research in Cameroon that sought to understand the key drivers – cultural, economic, nutritional – of wild meat as a food choice and the impacts of COVID-19 on that choice.

Our speakers will discuss what kind of ‘wild meat alternative’ interventions local people do and do not find acceptable.

How can decision-support tools help intervention designers think through critical issues? And what are the implications of these findings for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) guidance on wild meat and for the design of future projects?



Dilys Roe (moderator) is a principal researcher and biodiversity team leader in IIED’s Natural Resources research group

Stephanie Brittain is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford focusing on local knowledge and drivers of wild meat consumption in Cameroon

Cedric Thibaut Kamogne Tagne is a researcher at the Fondation Camerounaise de la Terre Vivante (FCTV) in Cameroon

Jasmin Willis  is a research consultant at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a visiting research fellow of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at University of Oxford

Professor EJ Milner-Gulland is director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at University of Oxford

Professor Julia Fa is a professor of natural sciences at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Andrew Fowler is regional lead for West and Central Africa with the Zoological Society of London

About IIED Debates

This event is part of the IIED Debates series. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED brings together an international community to discuss critical issues.

IIED Debates encompass both physical and digital events, including critical themes, breakfast debriefs and webinars. These events are public and are hosted regularly throughout the year online and when possible in our London and Edinburgh offices.

How to attend

Webinars are online workshops that people can attend via the internet from their desk or portable internet device.

This webinar will use the Zoom video conferencing platform. For those who have not attended a Zoom webinar before, please read this guide to participation as an attendee.

The event will be recorded to be distributed publicly afterwards. By registering for this event, you agree to give your consent for this.

The information you provide will be held on our database to process your booking. We do not share data with any third parties. We may contact you in the future about other IIED events. Please let us know if you do not want to receive any further information from us.





Welcome and introductions

Moderator: Dilys Roe



Introductory scene setting talk on rationale for the webinar and the projects behind it

Presenter: Professor EJ Milner-Gulland



Talk 1: Why Eat Wild Meat? Drivers of consumption drawing on an international literature review and fieldwork in Cameroon

Presenter: Stephanie Brittain



Talk 2: Perceptions of Covid-19 and impact on wild meat consumption around the DFR

Presenter: Cedric Thibaut Kamogne Tagne



Talk 3: Designing wild meat alternative projects: Project preferences from Cameroon and intro to the DST to help improve project design

Presenter: Stephanie Brittain



Talk 4: TRADE project- WILDMEAT interventions database

Presenter: Jasmin Willis






Response 1: Implications of the research findings for the CBD Guidelines for a Sustainable Wild Meat Sector

Presenter: Professor Julia Fa



Response 2: Potential of the DST to improve project design

Presenter: Andrew Fowler



Concluding remarks, thanks and end

Moderator: Dylis Roe



Image: The ‘Why eat wild meat: developing effective alternatives to bushmeat consumption’ project focuses on the Dja Faunal Reserve in southeast Cameroon. Photo by Emily Pinna/CIFOR via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0