Urban wild meat consumption and trade in central Amazonia

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The switch from hunting wild meat for home consumption to supplying more lucrative city markets in Amazonia can adversely affect some game species. Despite this, information on the amounts of wild meat eaten in Amazonian cities is still limited. We estimated wild meat consumption rates in 5 cities in the State of Amazonas in Brazil through 1046 door-to-door household interviews conducted from 2004 to 2012. With these data, we modeled the relationship between wild meat use and a selection of socioeconomic indices. We then scaled up our model to determine the amounts of wild meat likely to be consumed annually in the 62 urban centers in central Amazonia. A total of 80.3% of all interviewees reported consuming wild meat during an average of 29.3 (CI 11.6) days per year. Most wild meat was reported as bought in local markets (80.1%) or hunted by a family member (14.9%). Twenty-one taxa were cited as consumed, mostly mammals (71.6%), followed by reptiles (23.2%) and then birds (5.2%). The declared frequency of wild meat consumption was positively correlated with the proportion of rural population as well as with the per capita gross domestic product of the municipality (administrative divisions) where the cities were seated. We estimated that as much as 10,691 t of wild meat might be consumed annually in the 62 urban centers within central Amazonia, the equivalent of 6.49 kg per person per year. In monetary terms, this amounts to US$21.72 per person per year or US$35.1 million overall, the latter figure is comparable to fish and timber production in the region. Given this magnitude of wild meat trade in central Amazonia, it is fundamental to integrate this activity into the formal economy and actively develop policies that allow the trade of more resilient taxa and restrict trade in species sensitive to hunting.

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