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Biodiversity


A Collection of News by Moos
  • Sat01Aug2015

    Death of northern white rhino at Czech Zoo drives species closer to extinct...

    | News zoos

    Northern white rhino female Nabiré, one of the last five northern white rhinos in the world, died on Monday, July 27 in Dvůr Králové Zoo, Czech Republic. She deceased due to a large pathological cyst... Read more
  • Sat01Aug2015

    'Golden jackals' of East Africa are actually 'golden wolves'

    | News evolution

    Despite their remarkably similar appearance, the "golden jackals" of East Africa and Eurasia are actually two entirely different species. The discovery, based on DNA evidence and published online on 3... Read more
  • Mon27Jul2015

    Mammoths killed by global warming, not ice age!

    | News evolution

    New research revealed abrupt warming, that closely resembles the rapid man-made warming occurring today, has repeatedly played a key role in mass extinction events of large animals, the megafauna, in... Read more
  • Sun26Jul2015

    Dark plumage helps birds survive on small islands

    | News evolution

    Animal populations on islands tend to develop weird traits over time, becoming big (like Galapagos tortoises) or small (like extinct dwarf elephants) or losing the ability to fly (like the flightless... Read more
  • Thu23Jul2015

    New invention drives poaching to extinction!

    | News biodiversity

    A 24/7 real-time monitoring device for animals threatened by poaching, including rhino, tiger and elephant, has been invented by a British team. Welcomed by experts as a ground-breaking new technology... Read more
  • Wed22Jul2015

    Will a vaccine save Tasmanian devils from extinction?

    | News biodiversity

    New research, led by University of Southampton biological scientist Dr Hannah Siddle, is aiming to develop an effective vaccine against an infectious cancer that is eradicating the Tasmanian devil, th... Read more
  • Wed22Jul2015

    Critically endangered Scottish wildcat kittens born at Highland Wildlife Pa...

    | News zoos

    The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park welcomed three young Scottish wildcat kittens to the Park, last April. Also known as the Highland Tiger, this incredibly rare, na... Read more
  • Tue21Jul2015

    Malaysia's 'black panthers' finally reveal their leopard's spots

    | News biodiversity

    From the frozen forests of Russia to the scorching sands of the Kalahari Desert, leopards are the most widely distributed large cat on earth. Their iconic spotted coat has been admired and coveted by... Read more
  • Tue21Jul2015

    Polar bears will starve due to loss of sea ice, in the end...

    | News biodiversity

    Polar bears are unlikely to physiologically compensate for extended food deprivation associated with the ongoing loss of sea ice, according to one-of-its-kind research conducted by University of Wyomi... Read more
  • Tue23Jun2015

    “Golden age” of animal tracking just about began

    | News biodiversity

    Animals wearing new tagging and tracking devices give a real-time look at their behaviour and at the environmental health of the planet, say research associates at the Smithsonian Tropical Research In... Read more
  • Fri05Jun2015

    Catastrophic collapse of Saiga antelopes in Central Asia

    | News biodiversity

    More than 120,000 saiga antelope have been confirmed dead in central Kazakhstan, representing more than a third of the global population. This is a major blow for conservation efforts given that saiga... Read more
  • Sun31May2015

    Amur tiger numbers on the rise, say latest figures

    | News biodiversity

    The population of the Amur tiger in Russia has increased to as many as 540 individuals over the last ten years, according to figures released by the Russian government. “I am pleased to see that the n... Read more

Wed02May2012

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

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

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