Barbed-wire traps, used shotgun shells, the constant smell of gun-powder, as well as strips of meat: remnants from bushmeat hunt. However Bushmeat hunting is unlawful hunting of wild animals for food as well as income. A recently published study in Tropical Conservation Science records frequent consumption of bushmeat by a big number of Tanzania population. The Co-authors were looking for answers: who is eating bushmeat and the reason why they are doing so?

BushmeatUncontrolled hunting, plus land conversion, has resulted into decreasing of wildlife populations and this is posing a significant danger to biodiversity within this East African country. On the other hand, bushmeat as well plays a crucial role as a protein plus source of income for the locals. In accordance with Ceppi and Nielson, unlawful hunting could be the sole way for the local communities to gain from the surrounding wildlife reserves.

To access the forces driving the consumption of bushmeat , the author took an extensive look around 300 households of 10 tribes residing in biodiverse ecosystems across Tanzania. They interviewed the youth, women plus men in each of the tribes, visiting distant areas in the country from 2007 to 2009. Since most of the households have a hunter, it increases the regularity of consuming bushmeat, implying that that within these tribal regions there is limited selling of bushmeat.  Availability to wildlife was important: hunting levels reduced inside the highly safeguarded areas, plus with growing distance to the game reserves.

A number of earlier studies on the consumption of bushmeat within Tanzania report that ownership of tamed animals decreases the pressure on the wildlife nearby. In contrast to these findings, the author  found patterns of livestock holding plus bushmeat consumption in-line more with the cultural patterns: the tribes that keep cattle plus sheep actually consumed less bushmeat, whereas those having pigs plus poultry frequently ate bushmeat. The Maasai cattle keeping people  were not interested in bushmeat, virtually all participants of farming groups like the Wanguu frequently included bushmeat within their diets. A number of tribes such as the the Wataturu have specific cultural meanings linked to consuming of bushmeat; for instance, they think that elephant trunks increas male virility.

The word “bushmeat” is an overall category which includes common species plus the threatened species.

The extensively defined idea of bushmeat is a colonial-era build, coming from a number of restrictions on the hunting of wildlife passed by the colonial administration of  German in early 1900s.

One of the authors says that these restrictions were stiffened in 1918 by the British government, when a noticeable decrease in wildlife numbers turned out to be a concern. Bushmeat laws were put in place to protect colonial interests plus resources when confronted with pressure from local people.

In addition, the usefulness of the word “bushmeat” is doubtful, as hunting of plentiful wild species like the hare (Lepus capensis) plus cane rat (Thryonomys swindernianus) is just like hunting of the IUCN listed endangered species for example elephant (Loxodonta africana) plus hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). This conservative, broad-strokes method obscures key components of the biodiversity at issue.

They emphasized two major takeaways from this study. The current presumption that hunting of bushmeat can be ameliorated through providing domesticated animals plus an alternative source of protein isn’t the straightforward solution that policy makers have expected. Second of all, bushmeat rules have to take into account cultural variation, considering a general view of the habits of the local people on biodiversity effects.