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Drivers of Change in Hunter Offtake and Hunting Strategies in Sendje, Equatorial Guinea

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Abstract

Economic development in Africa is expected to increase levels of bushmeat hunting through rising demand for meat and improved transport infrastructure. However, few studies have tracked long‐term changes in hunter behavior as a means of testing this prediction. We evaluated changes in hunter behavior in a rural community in Equatorial Guinea over a period of rapid national economic growth, during which time road access to the regional capital greatly improved. We conducted offtake surveys (Supporting Information) over 3 7‐week periods at the same time of year in 1998, 2003, and 2010 and conducted hunter and household interviews (Supporting Information) in 2003 and 2010. We tested whether relations existed among catch, hunting effort, hunting strategy, and income earned through hunting and other livelihoods in 2003 and 2010. Although village offtake increased from 1775 kg in 1998 to 4172 kg in 2003, it decreased in 2010 to 1361 kg. Aggregate catch per unit effort (i.e., number of carcasses caught per hunter and per trap) decreased from 2003 to 2010, and the majority of hunters reported a decrease in abundance of local fauna. Although these results are indicative of unsustainable hunting, cumulative changes in offtake and catch per unit effort were driven by a contraction in the total area hunted following an out‐migration of 29 of the village's hunters, most of whom left to gain employment in the construction industry, after 2003. Hunters operating in both 2003 and 2010 hunted closer to the village because an increased abundance of elephants posed a danger and because they desired to earn income through other activities. Our study provides an example of national economic development contributing to a reduction in the intensity and extent of hunting.

Factores de Cambio en la Captura de Cazadores y Estrategias de Caza en Sendje, Guinea Ecuatorial
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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