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Bushmeat

Bushmeat

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Bushmeat initially referred to the hunting of wild animals in West
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 and Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

 and is a calque
Calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation.-Calque:...

 from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 viande de brousse. Today the term is commonly used for meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 of terrestrial
Terrestrial animal
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land , as compared with aquatic animals, which live predominantly or entirely in the water , or amphibians, which rely on a combination of aquatic and terrestrial habitats...

 wild animals, killed for subsistence or commercial purposes throughout the humid tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. To reflect the global nature of hunting of wild animals Resolution 2.64 of the IUCN General Assembly in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

 in October 2000 referred to wild meat rather than bushmeat. A more worldwide term is game
Game (food)
Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

. The term bushmeat crisis tends to be used to describe unsustainable hunting of often endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 wildlife in West and Central Africa and the humid tropics, depending on interpretation. African hunting predates recorded history; by the 21st century it had become an international issue.

Many conservation organizations have come together to address the bushmeat crisis through the formation of 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
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and around the world.

Hunting



Bushmeat hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 is common in many parts of the world where hunting of animals from the wild is performed. The bushmeat trade refers to the sale of any wild species, though Western sources tend to focus on the trade specifically involving great apes.
Though some bushmeat hunters have been targeting gorilla
Gorilla
Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

s, chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

s, bonobo
Bonobo
The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

s, and other primate
Primate
A primate is a mammal of the order Primates , which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment...

 species, great apes
Great Apes
Great Apes may refer to*Great apes, species in the biological family Hominidae, including humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans*Great Apes , a 1997 novel by Will Self...

 constitute less than 1% of bushmeat from all species sold on the market. The high rate of harvest, combined with habitat loss and alteration, has led to very severe population declines; if this trend is unchecked, extinction is likely. The number of animals and great apes killed has distressed many conservationists and advocates of animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 and great ape personhood
Great Ape personhood
Great ape personhood is a movement to create legal recognition of bonobos, common chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans as bona fide persons.-First steps:...

.

The issue of bushmeat hunting is highly politicized, with little support for the practice outside the forests and cities where it is conducted. International efforts to stop it have been launched, especially in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. In the countries where the hunting occurs, orphaned apes are deemed unable to survive on their own, but also deemed too small to be worth shooting and cutting up. They are raised and returned to the wild as part of these efforts.

In Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

, where gorilla
Gorilla
Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

 populations are especially endangered, the Wildlife Protectors Fund launched an education campaign to teach children about Koko
Koko (gorilla)
Koko is a female western lowland gorilla who, according to Francine "Penny" Patterson, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English....

 the gorilla, who is part of a long-term psychology experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

 in an American research sanctuary.

Contributing factors


Logging
Logging
Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks.In forestry, the term logging is sometimes used in a narrow sense concerning the logistics of moving wood from the stump to somewhere outside the forest, usually a sawmill or a lumber yard...

 concessions operated by Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an and Malaysian companies in African forests have been closely linked to the bushmeat trade. Because they provide roads, trucks and other access to remote forests, they are the primary means for the transportation of hunters and meat between forests and urban centres. Some, including the Congolaise Industrielle du Bois (CIB) in Republic of Congo, have partnered with governments and international conservation organizations to regulate the bushmeat trade within the concessions where they operate. Numerous solutions are needed; because each country has different circumstances, traditions and laws, no one solution will work in every location.

Effect on great apes


Some species are legal to hunt and not endangered, and others not so. Only about 1% of the bushmeat trade is in ape meat. However, the apes' small numbers and the attractiveness of hunting them (being a large animal, a gorilla can offer a good "payoff" for each cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

) means the impact on hunting them is considerable. Orphans of the bushmeat trade are often sold as pets, as young apes do not have enough meat on them to eat. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) is a member organization of sanctuaries that provide care for bushmeat orphans and education for local communities.

Armed conflict has a direct impact on the killing of great apes for bushmeat. This is largely because of the breakdown of law and order. A well-documented case was the killing and eating of mountain gorilla
Mountain Gorilla
The Mountain Gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic...

s during the military insurrection around Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park , formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori...

 in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in January 2007.

Apes reproduce relatively slowly, at about one-fourth the rate of most other mammals. A study in Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, the wealthiest country in the region, with 80% of its forest cover still in place, showed it had suffered at least a 56% decline in its ape population over 17 years.

Role in spread of diseases

  • Apes may harbour pathogens that can in theory affect humans. Ebola
    Ebola
    Ebola virus disease is the name for the human disease which may be caused by any of the four known ebolaviruses. These four viruses are: Bundibugyo virus , Ebola virus , Sudan virus , and Taï Forest virus...

    , for instance, may also be found in chimp
    Chimpanzee
    Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

    s, gorilla
    Gorilla
    Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

    s and bonobo
    Bonobo
    The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

    s, and might spread to humans by handling the meat and consumption of such great apes.
  • African squirrels (Heliosciurus, Funisciurus) have been implicated as reservoirs of the monkeypox
    Monkeypox
    Monkeypox also known as cockpox is an exotic infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The disease was first identified in laboratory monkeys, hence its name, but in its natural state it seems to infect rodents more often than primates...

     virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

    , and their use as bushmeat may be an important means of transmission to humans.
  • Research has shown that Human Immunodeficiency Virus
    HIV
    Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

     (HIV), the virus which causes AIDS
    AIDS
    Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

    , originated from a similar virus in primates called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus
    Simian immunodeficiency virus
    Simian immunodeficiency virus , also known as African Green Monkey virus and also as Monkey AIDS is a retrovirus able to infect at least 33 species of African primates...

     (SIV); researchers believe that HIV probably initially jumped into humans after people in Africa came into contact with infected bush meat. There are several distinct strains of HIV, indicating that this cross-species transfer has occurred several times.

Efforts at eradication


The bushmeat trade is considered by some antiglobalization activists to be one of many ways in which globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 affects life on the planet, due to the lumber trade (as described in the Factors section above). There is no way (other than by researching the corporations involved, or their countries of origin) to tell which lumber has been produced in a way that assists the hunting of apes, and which has not. It has been suggested that the only way to eliminate the bushmeat trade might be industry-specific protocols, along the lines of the Cocoa Protocol
Cocoa Protocol
The Harkin-Engel Protocol, commonly referred to as the Cocoa Protocol, is an international agreement aimed at ending child labour in the production of cocoa. It was signed in September 2001...

. Although some argue against Western interference with African culture, claiming that the West should take a value-neutral perspective on eating apes, many African cultures greatly respect or fear apes, and frown on their consumption. Some have suggested that the economic incentive to hunt bushmeat has led to an erosion of these traditional values, and that Western interference is therefore appropriate.

It has also been proposed by Dr. Peter Arcese, an associate professor of forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

 sciences at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

, that farming infrastructure needs to be created and the international exploitation of African fisheries needs to stop. The fisheries are being overfished by mainly EU-subsidized fleets and could collapse within a few decades. Reduced fishery landings in Africa increase demand for bushmeat, which is leading many species to face extinction, and a humanitarian crisis could easily follow. In some locations the biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 of mammals in parks has been reduced by 70% since 1967 because of bushmeat harvesting. Since wildlife monitoring is limited to a few countries, the full extent and future outlook of bushmeat is not currently known.

Causes of wildlife decline


Small villages and indigenous communities in Amazonia, sub-Saharan Africa, and other tropical areas still rely heavily on plants and animals for life's necessities (housing, food, fuel) as they always have. The free availability of forest products has long been a sustainable buffer against poverty in tropical forest communities. But as human populations expand, populations of animals diminish, biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 decreases, and this relationship grows less sustainable worldwide. “The sad reality is that those who most depend upon wild sources of food are usually the ones who pay the heaviest price for biodiversity loss,” says Dr Susan Lieberman, Director WWF’s International Species Programme.TRAFFIC: The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

A major factor in the decline of tropical wildlife species is the harvesting of wildlife for sale, especially by outsiders. This practice flourishes as transportation to markets becomes easier. Modern firearms mean easy hunting. New logging roads and motorized boats provide quick transport from deep forests to city markets. Markets in cities along the Amazon and other tropical rivers offer a bounty of forest and river animals, alive and dead, for meat, medicine, pets, or for blackmarket traders who will smuggle live animals into wealthy countries such as the United States for the pet trade or medical research.

See also

  • Gorillas
  • Ape Action Africa
    Ape Action Africa
    Ape Action Africa is a non-profit NGO founded in 1996 dedicated to the conservation of endangered gorillas and chimpanzees, threatened by the bushmeat trade in Central and West Africa. Ape Action Africa manages the rescue and rehabilitation of Great apes across much of Cameroon, with a large...

  • Ape extinction
    Ape extinction
    Ape extinction, particularly great ape extinction, is one of the most widely held biodiversity concerns.There are very few breeding populations of non-human great apes outside captivity, and all such populations are not only formally classified as endangered species, but in the direct path of human...

  • Bushfood
    Bushfood
    Bushfood traditionally relates to any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by the original inhabitants, the Australian Aborigines, but it is a reference to any native fauna/flora that is used for culinary and/or medicinal purposes regardless of which continent or culture it originates...

  • Country food
    Country food
    Country food, in Canada, refers to the traditional diets of Aboriginal people , especially in remote northern regions where Western food is an expensive import, and traditional foods are still relied upon.- First Nations :...

  • Wildlife trade
    Wildlife trade
    The international wildlife trade is a serious conservation problem, addressed by the United Nations' Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora CITES, which currently has 175 member countries called Parties. The 15th meeting of the Parties took place in Doha,...

  • Poaching
    Poaching
    Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

  • Endangered species
    Endangered species
    An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

  • Hunter-gatherer
    Hunter-gatherer
    A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

  • Gambian pouched rat
    Gambian pouched rat
    The Gambian pouched rat , also known as the African giant pouched rat, is a nocturnal pouched rat of the giant pouched rat genus Cricetomys. It is among the largest muroids in the world, growing up to about long including their tail which makes up half their length...

  • Greater Cane Rat
    Greater Cane Rat
    The Greater Cane Rat is one of two species of cane rats, a small family of African hystricognath rodents. It inhabits Africa, south of the Saharan Desert. The cane rat lives by reedbeds and riverbanks. As humans move into such territories, the cane rats accepted plantations and cultivated areas...

  • Cane Rat
    Cane rat
    The genus Thryonomys, also known as cane rats, grass cutters, or cutting grass, is a genus of rodent found throughout Africa south of the Sahara, the only members of the family Thyronomyidae. They are eaten in some African countries and are a pest species on many crops.-Characteristics:Cane rats...

  • Illegal logging
    Illegal logging
    Illegal logging is the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber in violation of laws. The harvesting procedure itself may be illegal, including using corrupt means to gain access to forests; extraction without permission or from a protected area; the cutting of protected species; or the...

  • Overfishing
    Overfishing
    Overfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans....


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