The bushmeat trade in southwestern Nigeria: A case study
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Hunters and bushmeat retailers in Bendel State, Nigeria were interviewed from May through August 1982. Hunting was found to take place in all months of the year, but became more intense during the dry season. Twentyseven species of mammal were reported to be hunted, while 22 species of mammal and five species of reptile were found on sale. Retailers reported that the grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianuswas the most popular species among their customers, followed by Maxwell's duiker, the brushtailed porcupine, and the bushpig. The grasscutter was also the most widely sold species, followed by the giant rat, monkeys, and Maxwell's duiker. Game animals were found to be shot and sold with little regard to existing laws, with the result that the larger mammals have become rare in Bendel and populations of the smaller ones have come under severe pressure. The bushmeat trade is highly commercialized, and substantial profits accrue to middlemen. Recommendations are made for the conservation of a natural resource, wildlife, that not only provides a significant amount of animal protein but also supports a large rural economy.
Key wordsNigeria hunting bushmeat trade wildlife exploitation conservation
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