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The Sustainability of Subsistence Hunting by Matsigenka Native Communities in Manu National Park, Peru

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The presence of indigenous people in tropical parks has fueled a debate over whether people in parks are conservation allies or direct threats to biodiversity. A well-known example is the Matsigenka (or Machiguenga) population residing in Manu National Park in Peruvian Amazonia. Because the exploitation of wild meat (or bushmeat), especially large vertebrates, represents the most significant internal threat to biodiversity in Manu, we analyzed 1 year of participatory monitoring of game offtake in two Matsigenka native communities within Manu Park (102,397 consumer days and 2,089 prey items). We used the Robinson and Redford (1991) index to identify five prey species hunted at or above maximum sustainable yield within the ∼150-km2 core hunting zones of the two communities: woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha), spider monkey (Ateles chamek), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), Razor-billed Currasow (Mitu tuberosa), and Spix's Guan (Penelope jacquacu). There was little or no evidence that any of these five species has become depleted, other than locally, despite a near doubling of the human population since 1988. Hunter–prey profiles have not changed since 1988, and there has been little change in per capita consumption rates or mean prey weights. The current offtake by the Matsigenka appears to be sustainable, apparently due to source–sink dynamics. Source–sink dynamics imply that even with continued human population growth within a settlement, offtake for each hunted species will eventually reach an asymptote. Thus, stabilizing the Matsigenka population around existing settlements should be a primary policy goal for Manu Park.
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Keywords: Manu National Park; Parque Nacional Manú; Peru; biodiversity conservation; bushmeat; cacería de subsistencia; carne de vida silvestre; community-based conservation; conservación basada en comunidades; conservación de la biodiversidad; derechos indígenas; dinámica fuente-vertedero; human-inhabited protected areas; indigenous rights; manejo de áreas protegidas; protected-area management; source–sink dynamics; subsistence hunting; wild meat; áreas protegidas

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation (CEEC), Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR47TJ, United Kingdom 2: Human Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, U.S.A.

Publication date: 01 October 2007

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