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02 February 2013

Bush Meat Trade - Threat of Extinction to Primates & Other Wildlife in Lebialem Division...

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Illegal bush meat trade in the Lebialem Division is increasing by day, thus threatening the extinction

of apes, chimpanzees, gorillas, other primates and wildlife found in the Division.

A recent survey conducted between March and July 2012 in Menji, the capital of the Division, on the quantity and type of meat sold by pepper soup sellers in restaurant shows that, over 70% of the meat sold, is bush meat.

This bush meat is gotten from forests adjacent the communities like Mak- Betchou forest area, Nkingkwa forest area and the Proposed Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) forest area. Hunting in these forest areas is done mostly by local hunters. They hunt to provide meat for their own needs as well as for commercial purposes with some of the meat going to bigger cities.

Though habitat loss is often cited as the primary threat to wildlife, commercial hunting for the bush meat has become one of the most significant immediate threat to the future of wildlife in the Division. It has already resulted in widespread local extinctions of some of these species in the Division thus threatening the livelihoods and food security of indigenous and rural populations.

With primates being part of the staple diet for these forest dwelling peoples, as populations increased, the demand for bush meat increases, hence pushing many of these primate species to the edge of extinction.