This talk was done by Peter Lindsey on Wednesday 26th March 2014.
Panthera is a Wild Cat conservation.
The talk was about Bush-meat trade and illegal hunting in Africa.
In forest biomes the Bush-meat trade is recognised now as a crisis. However; it composes as a significant component of economics in Africa. It is also an important component of food security in many areas, although unsustainable. It has resulted in widespread local extirpations of wildlife especially large species. The scale and impacts of this issue occurring in Savannah areas have received much less attention.
Hunting for bush-meat is illegal in most contexts (in protected areas, without a license or permit etc) and is usually referred to as poaching. The most common poaching method is Snares (wired traps) with a study of 86.6%.
Characteristics of a Snare:
– Cheap to Produce
– Hard to Detect
– Extremely Effective
– Wasteful – Over 1400 rotted animals found in snares
– Animal Welfare Implications
Other methods are used less often these include using dogs, Bow and arrow, firearms, Nets, Fire, Gin traps, Pitfall traps and small mammal traps.
Gin traps are much like Bear traps or spring activated traps.
Bush-meat poaching occurs on a continuum primarily done to obtain meat for personal consumption, local trade, or trade to urban centres and even international cities e.g. 5 tonnes per week passes through Paris.
Ecological impacts of the bush meat trade
There are significant impacts on particular species especially large predators such as Lions and hyenas. They are affected due to there own trapping within the snare by finding prey items trapped in others close by, are also affected by a reduction in their prey population.
Edge effects around protected areas
Bush meat hunting often imposes severe impacts on the edges of parks, these impacts include a reduction of wildlife abundance on edges, disappearance of certain species and reduced effective size protected areas. Wildebeasts are known to migrate outside of protected areas.
Catastrophic Wildlife Population Declines
Occurring where bush meat is allowed to proceed with no control. Areas such as parks during and after civil war, game reserves close to refugee camps and game ranches following settlements. Differences between the expected potential biomass per area and the actual was found to be much lower and this was associated with poaching.
Economic Impacts of Bush-meat trade
If wildlife populations were allowed to recover, the economic benefits for that given area would be greatly improved. Bush meat is an extremely inefficient form of wildlife use. Prices for illegal bush meat are low relative to legal game meat. Wastage and rotting occurs in snares. Legal hunters capture as little as 1% of the value of the wildlife that is destroyed.
Loss of potential income for communities, loss of potential employment and loss of potentially sustainable supply of meat.
Drivers of the bush meat trade
Rapid human population growth therefore increases the demand for meat. In rural areas bush meat is cheaper then alternative meats, however; in urban areas bush meat is more expensive then alternatives and is considered a luxury good.
Settlements and protected areas
Certain categories of protected areas are partly settled with people in many different African countries. The frequency of illegal hunting and bush meat consumption declines with distance from human settlements. Wildlife populations fare better in areas where human settlement is not permitted. In most areas the only way that communities living with wildlife can benefit from illegal hunting. The lack of alternative livelihood opportunities force reliance on bush meat. Unemployment provides ample time and opportunity for hunting. Quick cash income can be made from bush meat hunting. Hunters are able to earn the annual per capita income in one trip.
Lack of alternative food supplies
Lack of alternative protein sources, Livestock diseases, Livestock used as storing wealth rather than being used for meat and poor crop yields.
Other factors exacerbating the threat from the bush meat trade
– Underfunding of protected areas
– Inadequate penal systems (Wildlife crimes are low priority, Small fines and corruption).
Difference in approach to problem in forests and savannahs
In forests hunting should be controlled and not stopped, However; In Savannahs the potential for legal wildlife use is greater, poaching is easier to control and poaching should not be tolerated.
Funding for protected area management
– Greater investments in parks by African Governments.
– Elevated international funding.
– Development of frame works for co management.
– Attract private investment
– Capture the value of the carbon storage capacity in protected areas.
Funding allows for anti poaching measures. Legal protection for wildlife that include: changes to the law such as penalties reflecting wildlife and harsher sentences. Adequate training is needed for Judiciaries and law enforcements on topic of wildlife.
Land use planning
– Where settlement is not allowed, enforce it.
– Where settlement is allowed, place caps.
– Allocate clear and exclusive land rights.
– Allow for strict control in wildlife areas.
Make Wildlife as valuable as possible through legal means
– Expand tourism.
– Do not impose hunting bans on certain species.
– Link scale of carbon credits with biodiversity.
Alternative protein options
– Protected fish stocks.
– Irrigation programmes.
– Farming indigenous wildlife.
– Industrial development.
Greater focus and attention to bush meat trade otherwise….
– Loss of species and biomass from Protected Areas.
– Increasing pressure on protected areas.
– Limited social and economic benefits from parks.
I really enjoyed Peters talk. I gained a lot of understanding on why people would hunt for bush meat, however; I completely disagree with it, wildlife should be left well a lone. Using traps so harsh is wrong, not only does it cause a lot of pain and stress for the animal but a slow and painful death. Species that we do not consume are getting injured or killed in this process. Harsher penalties need to be considered to decrease illegal poaching and to ban using harsh trapping such as snares, and come up with a better way of killing animals humanely. By banning trapping this will help prevent species that we do not consume getting trapped and killed inhumanely, as this is a waste of life.