Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 251–264 | Cite as

Incentives for Hunting: The Role of Bushmeat in the Household Economy in Rural Equatorial Guinea

  • Noëlle F. KümpelEmail author
  • E. J. Milner-Gulland
  • Guy Cowlishaw
  • J. Marcus Rowcliffe


Bushmeat is an important component of the informal economy throughout West and Central Africa. In order to formulate effective policy to ensure the sustainability of bushmeat hunting for both development and conservation reasons, there is a need to understand its position within the wider rural economy. We conducted interviews with households and hunters over a 15-month period in a village in continental Equatorial Guinea which supplies substantial quantities of bushmeat to the urban market, to evaluate (1) whether hunting is predominately for income or consumption and through choice or necessity, and (2) the factors influencing household production of and consumption and expenditure on bushmeat. Hunting for trade to urban markets is a major component of household incomes, carried out by around 60% of poor-to-middle income households, while richer households have other income-generating activities. The greater a hunter’s bushmeat offtake, the higher the proportion sold. Bushmeat forms a minor component of household expenditure and is less widely consumed than alternative protein sources. It is a necessity good, with consumption and expenditure on bushmeat related less than proportionately to income. While they prefer the security of a regular wage, hunting is an important source of fall-back income for men in the absence of preferable alternative livelihood opportunities.


Bushmeat consumption Equatorial Guinea Household economy Hunter incentives Livelihoods 



We thank the Ministry of Forestry and Infrastructure, INDEFOR and ECOFAC in Equatorial Guinea for supporting our research, Nick Keylock for data collection and Bienvenido Ondo Ndong and Teresa Akeng for field assistance. The study was funded by the UK’s ESRC/NERC (PhD studentship award R42200134017 to NFK) and ESRC (postdoctoral fellowship award PTA-026-27-1416 to NFK) and Conservation International through USAID’s CARPE programme, and falls under the ZSL Institute of Zoology Bushmeat Research Programme.

Supplementary material

10745_2010_9316_MOESM1_ESM.doc (30 kb)
Table S1 The categories of the consumption, income and expenditure variables. (DOC 30 kb)
10745_2010_9316_MOESM2_ESM.doc (27 kb)
Figure S1 Prices of different frozen and fresh meat and fish types in Sendje during 2003. Prices are the means and 0.05-0.95 percentiles of all types in each category for which price data were available. Prices for bushmeat were taken from the offtake survey and those for the other food types from the household survey. Dried/tinned fish is not included here as due to the drying/tinning processes direct comparison with fresh or frozen cuts is difficult in terms of price per kilogram. (DOC 27 kb)
10745_2010_9316_MOESM3_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Figure S2 Probability of households hunting commercially with increasing non-hunting income per Reference Adult (RA) unit (quadratic curve fitted). (DOC 34.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noëlle F. Kümpel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • E. J. Milner-Gulland
    • 2
  • Guy Cowlishaw
    • 1
  • J. Marcus Rowcliffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyZoological Society of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonBerkshireUK
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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