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A Collection of News by Moos
  • Sun04Oct2015

    Bringing Devils back into the Tasmanian wild

    | News zoos

    September 25th marks a defining moment in the fight to save the Tasmanian Devil. 20 healthy devils have now been released back into the wild at Narawntapu National Park (NNP) in Northern Tasmania, vac... Read more
  • Sun20Sep2015

    World's first captive-born Indian rhinoceros calf, 2015, at Hellabrunn Zoo

    | News zoos

    On 31 August a male Indian rhinoceros calf was born at Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany. Up to now it is the first Indian rhino birth in captivity worldwide in 2015. The rhino calf's first public app... Read more
  • Sun20Sep2015

    Sea otter numbers are encouraging, but sharks appear to be a problem still

    | News biodiversity

    The recovery of southern sea otters appears to have taken an upturn, according to results from the annual California sea otter survey released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on 17 September. Yet... Read more
  • Sun20Sep2015

    Saving wild Sumatran rhinos from the brink of extinction is still possible

    | News biodiversity

    The Sumatran rhino – one of the most critically endangered mammals on the planet – may have just received a lifeline. A new scientific publication from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Univ... Read more
  • Sat19Sep2015

    ‘Tree of Life’ for 2.3 million species released – Wikipedia for evolutionar...

    | News evolution

    A first draft of the “tree of life” for the roughly 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes – from platypuses to puffballs – has been released. This large, open-access resourc... Read more
  • Sun06Sep2015

    Polar bears may survive the Arctic ice melt – on caribou

    | News biodiversity

    As climate change accelerates ice melt in the Arctic, polar bears may find caribou and snow geese replacing seals as an important food source, shows a recent study published on 10 June in the journal... Read more
  • Sat05Sep2015

    New law of nature explains why there aren't more lions...

    | News biodiversity

    Discovery of what appears to be a new law of nature: more crowding leads to fewer offspring Why aren’t there more lions? That was what puzzled McGill PhD student Ian Hatton, when he started looking at... Read more
  • Sat05Sep2015

    Black-footed ferret diversity boosted by AI with frozen sperm

    | News zoos

    The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) has been a leader in black-footed ferret conservation since a small population of this solitary, nocturnal carnivore was discovered in 1981. SCBI... Read more
  • Sat05Sep2015

    Fewer tiger subspecies improves flexibility of tiger conservation

    | News biodiversity

    New scientific research could help to protect tigers (Panthera tigris) from extinction. The findings indicate that tigers should be classified as only two subspecies, while up to now nine subspecies a... Read more
  • Sun09Aug2015

    No kidding, RZSS appoints a Cartoonist in Residence

    | News zoos

    The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has appointed Dr Cameron McPhail and his Kartoon Faktory as RZSS Cartoonists in Residence. Humour as an instrument to raise awareness about RZSS' missio... Read more
  • Sun09Aug2015

    Dogs process faces in specialized brain area, study reveals

    | News evolution

    Dogs have a specialized region in their brains for processing faces, a new study finds. The journal PeerJ published on 4 August the research, which provides the first evidence for a face-selective reg... Read more
  • Sun09Aug2015

    Almost extinct Socorro dove hatches at Edinburgh Zoo

    | News zoos

    An incredibly rare dove that has been extinct in the wild since the early 1970's has hatched at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. With less than 100 pure bred individuals of this species left in the world, a Socorr... Read more


Overhunting bush animals threatens food security of Central Africa’s rural communities


Wild animals such as bonobos and large antelopes are being unsustainably hunted to meet overwhelming domestic demand for bushmeat. This is having serious impacts on both species diversity and rural forest communities

who depend on wild sources of meat for up to 80% of the protein in their diets.

Scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are encouraging Africa’s city dwellers to stop the consumption of protected species and consume sustainable sources of meat, whether from domestic animals or from resilient species that are hunted in a sustainable way.

For people in the countryside, bushmeat is a crucial part of their diets, and we cannot simply tell them not to eat it – they will always continue to

Robert Nasi, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and co-author of the recent study The role of wildlife for food security in Central Africa: a threat to biodiversity?

Nonetheless, in cities it is somewhat easier to find other sources of protein than in a village in the middle of the forest, so it is here that we have an opportunity to reduce unnecessary demand by shifting their meat consumption to other sources and thus preserving Africa’s biodiversity.”

bushmeat gabon  bushmeat suriname

Though the word “bushmeat” may be synonymous with ecological exploitation and species extinction, in Africa it could mean a potentially sustainable source of food: unlike cattle, which require large tracts of forest to be cleared, small, fast reproducing animals can be harvested without significant impacts on the ecology of the forests. Bushmeat is de facto one of the most readily available sources of nutrition and protein in regions of Africa that are struggling with maintaining a secure food supply.

For a minority of people living in Africa’s growing number of large cities in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Cameroon, bushmeat is considered a luxury product, due to the exotic nature of the meat compared to farmed animals. New migrants from the countryside often highly value bushmeat over farmed meat due to its cultural familiarity, having eaten it throughout their childhoods.

But for the majority of the urban poor however, as Nasi points out in another new paper, Empty forests, empty stomachs? Bushmeat and livelihoods in Congo and Amazon Basins, in cities which are neither isolated rural areas nor major capitals, bushmeat is not a luxury but rather a necessity for urban poor as it is one of the most cheaply acquired sources of protein. Unfortunately, due to population growth, deforestation, civil conflicts, weak governance and inadequate law enforcement, hunting for bushmeat is increasing dramatically and many species of wildlife are struggling to bounce back.

Researchers know that the volumes of meat caught are high: Nasi et al. estimate bushmeat consumption across the Congo basin and the Amazon is in the range of 6 million tonnes a year. However, estimating the true size of total bushmeat catches is extremely challenging, as the ultimate source of the meat is difficult to determine. It is also difficult to know the true size of what is caught, as the volume of meat that reaches markets will inevitably be smaller than the initial harvest.

To develop a new set of tools for estimating bushmeat harvests, Nasi and colleagues examined the meat on sale in urban markets in the African city of Kisangani and documented which animals were on sale, which were abundant or threatened species, and the pricing for each type of meat. They found that partially protected species represented 50 per cent of the total bushmeat sold in Kisangani in 2002, but had increased to 66 per cent in 2009. Market data thus can be valuable for policy makers and academics for “raising the alarm” when rapid changes in wild population numbers are documented.

But understanding the importance of bushmeat to local cultures, both in terms of livelihood as well as nutrition, is essential, said Nathalie Van Vliet, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

Appreciating the kinds of meat that regional people value and why, is crucial for developing effective policies and strategies

In the case of rural communities, where reliable sources of protein may be hard to come by, simply prescribing an abandonment of bushmeat will not work.

We should not criminalise the whole system – it’s like with any other essential resources, the trade will just go underground and continue with even less options for control,” Nasi said.

But what can be done, through policies and careful public education programmes, is to discourage the hunting and consumption of animals that reproduce slowly and do not recover quickly from culls, such as fruit bats. Other species, such as rats, are abundant, and due to high reproduction rates recover quickly from hunting impacts. They are also highly valued by local communities. “In some markets, the most expensive form of meat is in fact rat,” Van Vliet said.

People do in fact like the taste of the meat, showing that neither rarity nor size is the only indicator of price, and that some species that are resilient to the impacts of hunting are preferred, thus creating options for management.” Despite there being only a few policies that effectively manage the levels of bushmeat hunting sustainably, at the governmental level, there has been come recognition of the need to monitor and regulate the trade in bushmeat.

Since COP11 in 2000, three central African countries have drafted national bushmeat action plans: Cameroon, Gabon, and both the Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. But these drafts are still very much incomplete and ineffective. Nasi is working with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s liaison group on bushmeat, which recognizes that existing policies and legal frameworks are unpractical or unfeasible. But in his experience, Nasi and colleagues say that working with governments in Africa has not been sufficient. Conversely, they have found that partnering with logging companies – who themselves can become big drivers of hunting through the creation of roads that penetrate forests, combined with remote camps populated with hungry workers – has often resulted in a high degree of success in achieving sustainable hunting.

In the future we think developing private-public partnerships to manage hunting of resilient species while protecting vulnerable ones would be an effective element of the solution


The above news item is reprinted from materials available at Center for International Forestry Research via AlertNet. Original text may be edited for content and length.

(Source: Forests Blog CIFOR, 05.04.2012)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Amur leopard conservation
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Snow Leopard Trust

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map


"Tiger map" (CC BY 2.5) by Sanderson et al., 2006.


about zoos and their mission regarding breeding endangered species, nature conservation, biodiversity and education, while at the same time relates to the evolution of species.
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