Solutions for Bushmeat

Bushmeat is a growing concern for anyone interested in wildlife conservation. A single market in Pompeya, on the margins of the Napo River in Ecuadorian Amazon, sold around 10 tonnes of bushmeat in a single month.

60% of the bushmeat sold animals were large mammals, the most charismatic animals around. A few years ago, troops of hundreds of White-lipped Peccaries were a common sight in the forest, but nowadays can only be found in remote areas. Other species threatened by over-harvesting include tapirs, whose meat is sold as an exotic food to tourists and settlers.

TRAFFICTapir sometimes used for bushmeat is one of the leading organizations providing solutions for the bushmeat crisis. They undertake proactive solutions including projects offering economic alternatives to hunter communities and wild meat vendors. The approach towards local stakeholders´ needs, complemented with the promotion of good governance by all local institutions and relevant ministries, is proving a highly effective strategy.

TRAFFIC is helping implement a project in Ecuador’s Amazonian Orellana province which aims to reduce the illegal trade in bushmeat through promoting alternatives for local people such as small-scale cocoa plantations (without promoting deforestation), fish farming, ecotourism and through education about the effects of over-harvesting.

TRAFFIC is helping run awareness campaigns on local buses, local flights from Quito to Amazonian towns, and in urban restaurants, encouraging people not to order or consume bushmeat.

In 2010, five Waorani communities, encouraged through the TRAFFIC-led project to reduce the consumption of the most sought after animal species, decided to ban all tapir hunting for three years to allow populations to recover, as well as pledging only to hunt peccaries for their subsistence needs, not for sale in nearby towns and restaurants.

“We need to find the right balance between carrot and stick to bring viable solutions to addressing the complex conservation and social issues involved,” says Bernardo Ortiz, TRAFFIC South America’s Regional Director.

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Alison Wheatley

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