The meat of wild animals (bushmeat) is consumed extensively in many tropical regions. Over the past few decades bushmeat consumption has greatly increased, threatening the survival of some hunted species and the supply of animal protein to countless numbers of people. Understanding patterns of bushmeat consumption is thus vital to ensure the sustainable use of this resource. Although the economic drivers of bushmeat consumption have been well studied, non-wealth correlates have been poorly considered. Here, we analyse how variables such as age and gender may influence bushmeat consumption in four West African countries, within the Guinean forests (Togo and Nigeria) and Sahel (Burkina Faso and Niger). We interviewed a total of 2453 persons (1253 urban, 1200 in rural areas) to determine frequency of consumption of bushmeat as well as the main species eaten. We found significant differences in bushmeat consumption between rural and urban areas in all four countries. In particular, the proportion of persons not consuming any bushmeat was highest in urban areas. Gender differences in bushmeat consumption were not generally important but young people consistently avoided eating bushmeat, especially in Togo and Nigeria, and in urban areas. The complicated interplay between tradition and evolution of social systems (especially the trends towards westernization) may explain the different perceptions that people may have towards consuming bushmeat in the four studied countries. In addition, we found considerable variation in types of bushmeat eaten, with antelopes and large rodents eaten by the great majority of interviewees, but bats, monkeys, and snakes being avoided, especially in urban settlements.
Topic: wildlife, animal-based food, gender, hunting, consumption
Geographic: Togo,Nigeria,Burkina Faso,Niger
Publication Year: 2019
Source: Acta Oecologica 94: 47-56