Factors affecting bushmeat consumption in the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem of Tanzania
Bushmeat consumption and trade are major problems for wildlife conservation in East Africa. To evaluate recognized drivers of bushmeat consumption, we used structured interviews of 435 households in 11 villages within an ethnically diverse division in rural western Tanzania; the study included both indigenous people and an immigrant population that has moved into the area over the last 40 years. We found that the number of wild animal carcasses reported to be entering villages was greater in villages situated nearer to nationally protected areas. In the indigenous sample, bushmeat consumption was more common in richer than in poorer households, challenging ideas that increasing the availability of alternative protein would necessarily reduce consumption of bushmeat. In the immigrant sample, we found the opposite pattern. We recommend that outreach programs be targeted at both hunters and consumers living near protected area boundaries; that careful evaluations be made of whether wealthy or poor are eating bushmeat; and that protein supplementation be considered more cautiously in solving the problem of bushmeat demand. Our findings highlight complexities of implementingpractical solutions to bushmeat consumption in Africa.