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Conserv Biol. 2011 Dec;25(6):1220-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01741.x. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

Association of body mass with price of bushmeat in Nigeria and Cameroon.

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1
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Zoology Department, University of Oxford, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon OX13 5 QL, UK. david.macdonald@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Spatially extensive patterns of bushmeat extraction (and the processes underlying these patterns) have not been explored. We used data from a large sample (n= 87) of bushmeat trading points in urban and rural localities in Nigeria and Cameroon to explore extraction patterns at a regional level. In 7,594 sample days, we observed 61,267 transactions involving whole carcasses. Rural and urban trading points differed in species for sale and in meat condition (fresh or smoked). Carcass price was principally associated with body mass, with little evidence that taxonomic group (primate, rodent, ungulate, or mammalian carnivore) affected price. Moreover, meat condition was not consistently associated with price. However, some individual species were more expensive throughout the region than would be expected for their size. Prices were weakly positively correlated with human settlement size and were highest in urban areas. Supply did not increase proportionally as human settlement size increased, such that per capita supply was significantly lower in urban centers than in rural areas. Policy options, including banning hunting of more vulnerable species (those that have low reproductive rates), may help to conserve some species consumed as bushmeat because carcass prices indicate that faster breeding, and therefore the more sustainable species, may be substituted and readily accepted by consumers.

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