Sourcing and Typology of Animals from the Wild for Bush Meat Economy of Central Cameroon (Tonga, West Region)
Author(s): Reeves M. Fokeng, Zephania N. Fogwe, Bernard N. Bodzemo
Bush meat economic gains are taking strands in alternative protein-dependent communities of Cameroon portraying momentous swings from traditionally subsistent to modern market-driven hunting. An important and emergent such hot spot in Central Cameroon is Tonga (West Region) where the sources and offtake of animals harvested from the wild have significantly impacted the stakeholders and hunted animal species. This study in a purposeful methodology from February to June of 2017 made a survey and inventory of active and passive wholesalers and retailers in order to determine the periodicity and spatial trends of quantities and types of animals that have come to focus in this new community economic sector. Results thereof show that the Tonga bush meat exchange hub involves 13 localities of varied ecologies around Tonga and spanning inwards from the Yaounde-Bafoussam National Road which has widened the bush meat consumption sphere. Traded species were identified and classified into 10 taxonomy groups from 5989 carcasses being 849 primates, 1227 certartiodactyla (duikers including red river hog), 670 Pholidota (pangolins), 2328 Rodentia, 361 Carnivora (African civet and African palm civet) and 435 Squamata (Varanus, African Rock python and other snakes). Amongst these were threatened species as pangolins (670 carcasses) and drill (130 carcasses) and most particularly African soft shell turtle. Cartographic representation of spatial distribution and volume of trade not only showed hunting cluster areas but species-specific locations that could permit a guided wildlife conservation policy to preserve threatened species traded.