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Human Ecology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 249–257 | Cite as

Wild Meat Use and Traditional Hunting Practices in a Rural Mayan Community of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

  • Perla León
  • Salvador MontielEmail author
Article

Abstract

Overexploitation of Neotropical ecosystems for wild meat constitutes a threat to biodiversity and might seriously affect local people who depend on wild animals as a primary food resource. To assess this problem at the local level, social use of wild animals was evaluated in a Mayan community of the Yucatan Peninsula. Over 8 months, peasant-hunters carried out a total of 175 hunting trips, gathering 253 animals of 12 species (mammals, birds and reptiles). Most preys (95%) were taken in 4 months (January–April) during the dry season and the main target species were white-tailed deer and iguana (jointly representing 59% of preys). During an 11-week period, total per capita wild meat consumption (182 kg; n = 14 families) was three times greater in nuclear than in extended families. The observed wild fauna use is a reflection of traditional knowledge and represents an important subsistence strategy for the local people.

Keywords

Neotropical wildlife Wild meat Mayan traditional knowledge Yucatan Mexico 

Notes

Aknowledgements

This study was partially funded by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México (CONACyT) through a grant (Fondo Mixto del Estado de Campeche; CAMP-2005-C01-007) to SM and a Masters scholarship to PL. CINVESTAV-Mérida provided all logistic support for the fieldwork. We thank Fátima Méndez and Luis Arias from the staff of the Laboratorio de Ecología y Conservación de la Biodiversidad (LAECBIO) for their invaluable support in field logistics. We also warmly thank the inhabitants of Los Petenes for their enthusiastic participation in this study and their hospitality during our stays in the community. Betty Faust, Julia Fraga, Sophie Calmé and two anonymous reviewers made useful suggestions on the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología HumanaCentro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (CINVESTAV-IPN), Unidad MéridaMéridaMéxico

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