Bushmeat Hunger -The Next Global Animal Crisis

p1a1Bushmeat is the term commonly used for wild land animals killed for subsistence or commercial purposes throughout the humid tropics of the Americas, Asia and Africa. The first problem faced with bush meat is the unsustainable hunting practices used to gather the meat. These hunters kill a variety of animals including gorillas, other primates, ungulates, rodents, and birds. Most alarming are the bushmeat hunters who have been targeting the great apes which constitute less than 1 % of bushmeat sold on the market. This has distressed many conservationists and advocates of animal rights, Orangutan Outreach and great ape lovers everywhere.

The hunting of great apes is attractive to many of the hunters because they are a larger target, with a larger pay off. These animals are not only hunted for meat but their offspring of these animals are orphaned are often sold into captivity as pets or left for dead. So the removal of just a few apes from the wild can hurt the populations. Apes reproduce relatively slowly, at about one-fourth the rate of most other mammals. A study in Gabon, the wealthiest country in the region with 80% of its forest cover still in place, showed that it had suffered at least a 56% decline in its ape population over seventeen years.

With all the bad news always comes some good news and hope. There are organizations aimed at helping to regulate the bushmeat trade, the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, whose mission is to build a public, professional and government constituency aimed at identifying and supporting solutions that effectively respond to the bushmeat crisis in Africa and around the world. Other organization helping the apes include the Wildlife Protectors Fund and advocates of animal rights like the Orangutan Projuct. All groups welcome new support.

Excerpts from the following img_3239-bushmeat
Images courtesy of National Geographic, World Biking, Mindfully.org



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