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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 11:1-12 (2010)  -  DOI:

Hunting and trapping in Lebialem Division, Cameroon: bushmeat harvesting practices and human reliance

Juliet H. Wright*, Nancy E. C. Priston

Department of Anthropology and Geography, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK

ABSTRACT: Bushmeat hunting has evolved into a large-scale commercial activity in western and central Africa. Primates are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation and tend to be absent from heavily hunted areas. To reduce their rate of decline, human use of, and reliance on, bushmeat must be understood so that locally appropriate mitigation strategies can be developed. We address the social dimension of bushmeat hunting by revealing why people hunt, the techniques used, harvest composition, species preferences and the nature of human economic and nutritional reliance. Data were collected during May and June 2007 in Lebialem Division, Southwest Region, Cameroon. Ninety semi-structured interviews with hunters and trappers were conducted alongside participatory appraisal sessions in 6 rural communities. The main reason for harvesting bushmeat was income generation. Shotguns were the weapon of choice, enabling 74% of interviewees to hunt primates. A decrease in mammalian abundance was reported by 88%, motivating hunters to trek to protected areas outside of Lebialem. 64% sold more bushmeat than they consumed, with hunters selling a greater proportion than trappers, due to species composition. Fish was the principle source of animal protein consumed on a regular basis. Hunting and trapping were mainly secondary income-generating activities, but the flexibility of labour inputs and rates of return make them important livelihood components. To reduce financial reliance on bushmeat harvesting and the volume of species extracted, the development of economic alternatives and conservation education programmes should be given priority.

KEY WORDS: Bushmeat · Southwest Cameroon · Livelihoods · Primates · Hunting behaviour

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Cite this article as: Wright JH, Priston NEC (2010) Hunting and trapping in Lebialem Division, Cameroon: bushmeat harvesting practices and human reliance. Endang Species Res 11:1-12.

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