Finely Ground‐Hornbill: The Sale of Bucorvus Cafer in a Traditional Medicine Market in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

  • Robin K. Bruyns
  • Vivienne L. Williams
  • Anthony B. Cunningham


Southern Ground‐hornbill (Bucorvus cafer) is used in traditional medicine in Zimbabwe, and the trade of this species was investigated in an informal sector market in Bulawayo. The frequency of hunting for B. cafer was found to be currently insignificant, and could neither be causally linked to population decline nor proved to be a driver of the low abundances of ground‐hornbills in the surrounding areas where hunting occurs. Cultural perceptions and the preferences of users in western Zimbabwe, primarily Matabeleland, appear to be a factor in the low levels of utilization. Hunting of ground-hornbills for traditional medical practices in this area is therefore not a significant threat to the species, since hunting practices appear to be rare and opportunistic rather than directly intentional. Habitat loss and degradation (largely due to agricultural expansion, charcoal and fuelwood demand) is likely to be the main threat to B. cafer populations.


Traditional Medicine Finger Millet Eleusine Coracana African Traditional Medicine Traditional Medicinal Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was funded by a National Research Foundation grant from Dr CT Symes (NRF 70984), and the University of the Witwatersrand. We would like to thank the traders at the Makokoba Market, Bulawayo, for their cooperation, Dr. Peter Mundy for his valued cultural input, and Dr. Don Broadley and Sheila Broadley for their exceptional hospitality.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin K. Bruyns
    • 1
  • Vivienne L. Williams
    • 1
  • Anthony B. Cunningham
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitsSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Plant BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3. People and Plants InternationalWhite Gum ValleyAustralia

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