New WILDMEAT database addresses unsustainable wild meat hunting, consumption and trade

Researchers at the Department of Biology have created a database of interventions designed to reduce, or make more sustainable, the consumption of wild meat.

The database is published as part of a 16-paper special edition of the African Journal of Ecology. Academics from 45 institutions across 16 countries are seeking to draw attention to the impact of wild meat on biodiversity, and to call for effective monitoring and intervention strategies at a local and global scale.

 “While much attention is paid to deforestation and fisheries management in global biodiversity strategies, wild meat hunting and trade is largely flying under the radar. Not only do we need to effectively monitor it, but we also need holistic approach to tackling it.”

Dr Lauren Coad, University of Oxford

Wild meat has long been used to meet food and income needs by many communities. Growing human populations and increasing commercial trade has driven up demand and prices of wild meat. This has led to overexploitation of wild populations, which threatens the survival of those populations.

There are many and varied interventions used to manage wild meat trade for the sake of both local human communities and local ecosystems. But these strategies may lie with different stakeholders and actors, at local, regional, national and international levels. They can be further complicated by a lack of information about the status of wild populations.

Consequently, there is a huge knowledge gap that limits how much researchers and practitioners can learn from the lessons and experiences of other wild meat projects

To help fill this knowledge gap, the new database explores in-depth how effective different interventions have been, such as local people monitoring hunting in Gabon, and a voucher system to monitor transport of animals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We have several hundred projects documented so far, and we hope others will add to that, so that it can enable NGOs, communities and policy-makers to include wild meat hunting and trade in decision-making at all levels about how to protect and restore biodiversity.”

Dr Daniel Ingram, University of Stirling

The special issue - ‘Contemporary wild meat hunting, consumption and trade in Africa’ - of the African Journal of Ecology is available here: