, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 579-596

Subsistence hunting among the Waimiri Atroari Indians in central Amazonia, Brazil

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Abstract

Subsistence hunting among the Waimiri Atroari Indians in central Amazonia, Brazil, was studied from September 1993 to October 1994 to assess the current levels of resource exploitation. Hunting effort, harvesting yields and species composition of the hunt were recorded daily in five villages varying in number of people, location and age of the settlement. The Waimiri Atroari harvested a total of 3004 individuals of 41 species in one year. Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), collared peccary (T. tajacu) and spider monkey (Ateles paniscus) represented 87% of the total yearly game weight. Sex ratios of spider monkeys killed were heavily biased towards females indicating a stronger hunting pressure on those individuals. Harvesting yields was proportional to hunting efforts indicating no evident game depletion in the study period. However, capture per unit of effort was significantly different among villages. Differences in total game mass harvested may be explained by local resource depletion associated with age and size of the settlement. However, this relationship is confounded by the capacity of some villages to exploit distant hunting sites. Data obtained in one village showed that harvest rates were higher in hunting sites located far from settlement indicating game depletion in hunting sites surrounding the village.