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Bushmeat

Gradual emptying of entire forests

Source of protein and object of widespread illegal trading

Bushmeat is the meat of wild animal species hunted and consumed by villagers, mainly in Central and Western Africa. Recent estimates indicate that between one and five tonnes of bushmeat is consumed each year in these regions, where it’s often the sole source of protein for villagers. Bushmeat is also the mainstay of widespread trafficking, which is sometimes driven by the very people whose role it is to uphold wildlife-protection laws.

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How we counter this threat

Bushmeat was at the centre of our first bonobo-protection programme, set up in Equateur Province, DRC, in 2008. Several years of persistent hard work with villagers, some of whom live several hours’ motorbike ride from the nearest town, brought about a reduction in the effects of bushmeat hunting. Our local development and awareness-raising actions helped begin the process that has since brought bonobo hunting to an end in this region.

Instead, hunters have taken up occupations such as rabbit-breeding, and the women who used to sell bushmeat have opened small cooperatives selling bread, soap or fuel. Furthermore, they now have a much better understanding of how the consequences of excessive human pressure on natural resources affect the lives of their children and future generations.

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