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Card-carrying hunters, rural poverty, and wildlife decline in northern Côte d’Ivoire

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This paper examines wildlife decline in northern Côte d’Ivoire with emphasis on the political-economic and cultural dimensions of market hunting. Hunting and the trade in wild animal meat are situated within the economic diversification strategies of impoverished farmers and the flourishing of hunter associations. The role of hunter associations is critical in the rise in the number of hunters and firearms in the case study area of Kakoli. Initiation into the national hunters’ association, Binkadi, allows card-carrying members to bear arms without legal repercussions. Higher quality arms and rural poverty motivate many of these recruits to engage in market hunting. Game market surveys for 1981–82 and 1997–99 in Kakoli show tremendous pressure on both vulnerable and robust species alike. Game depletion is conceptualized as the outcome of interacting social and biophysical processes that produce hunting pressure and habitat change. By drawing attention to the political-economic, ecological, and cultural dimensions of wildlife decline, this study implicates a diversity of actors and institutions in the dynamics of game depletion.

Keywords: Côte d'Ivoire; bushmeat; game depletion; hunter associations; market hunting; political ecology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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