Published 27 May 2021
The trade in bushmeat in Africa is a widespread conservation issue. Urban demand for bushmeat and other wildlife products exacerbates exploitation that threatens the survival of several species in the wild. The extent and prevalence of the bushmeat trade in urban areas in East Africa is relatively poorly understood.
Bushmeat Trade in urban centres in Tanzania: an analysis from Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Mbeya, Arusha, and Manyara
Martin Andimile, Camilla Floros
From October to November 2019 a rapid assessment of the bushmeat trade in urban areas in Tanzania was conducted. Engagement with stakeholders suggested specific urban centres that are known for their bushmeat availability. This assessment focused on these centres and interviewed bushmeat traders and consumers. Bushmeat is consumed regularly in the centres assessed and flows to these sites undercover through different means of transportation, including motorcycles and public buses.
Sales of bushmeat were found to be through covert channels and mainly to known customers. This assessment identified 28 wild species as the most frequently traded, including Kirk’s Dik Dik Madoqua kirkii, African Buffalo Syncerus caffer, Grant’s Gazelle Gazella granti, Tora Hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus, Thomson’s Gazelle Eudorcas thomsonii, Masai Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, Lesser Kudu Tragelaphus imberbis, Greater Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, Common Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, Common Impala Aepyceros melampu, Common Eland Taurotragus oryx, Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca, Mountain Reedbuck Redunca fulvorufula, Common Warthog Phacochoerus africanus, Common Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, Common Wild Pig Potamochoerus larvatus, Plains Zebra Equus quagga, and Common Wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus. Species also traded for other products across the study sites included Temminck’s Pangolin Smutsia temminckii, African Elephant Loxodonta, africana, Crested Porcupine Hystrix cristata, African Lion Panthera leo, snakes Serpentes spp., Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus, Serval Cat Leptailurus serval, Nile Monitor Varanus niloticus, Verreaux's Eagle-owl Bubo lacteus, and land snails, particularly Achatina fulica.
- The trade in bushmeat in Tanzania is illegal and therefore operates as a clandestine activity (unlike in some bushmeat markets in Central and West Africa where bushmeat is sold openly).
- Poachers sold their consignment directly to known consumers based on trust and who they are in contact with by phone or physical visits.
- Bushmeat is primarily traded locally in Tanzania, but almost a quarter of respondents from Arusha mentioned a cross-border bushmeat trade with Kenya and this involved giraffe.
- The bushmeat trade is largely conducted for local consumption but occurs alongside other wildlife products used for traditional medicine, and ornaments/decorations (some of which are exported).
- Respondents expressed awareness of hunting restrictions and perceived that law enforcement restrictions increased challenges to their involvement in the bushmeat trade.
- The prevalence of the bushmeat trade, scarcity of wild species in open areas, and the targeting of wildlife in protected areas, suggests that the bushmeat trade is a significant threat to wildlife in Tanzania.
- Formalization of game meat trade, without ensuring effective control mechanisms and law enforcement, will simply be legitimizing the present unsustainable bushmeat trade.
- The presence of bushmeat in urban centers suggest that the control of bushmeat trade is not effective.
for more information:
Abbie Pearce TRAFFIC Media Support Manager
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