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Bushmeat hunting around a remnant coastal rainforest in Côte d'Ivoire

  • S. Gonedelé Bi (a1), Inza Koné (a2), J.C.K. Béné (a2), E.A. Bitty (a2), K.A. Yao (a2), B.A. Kouassi (a1) and P. Gaubert (a3)...

For most Ivorian regions quantitative data on the exploitation of bushmeat by local communities are scarce. We studied hunting patterns around Dassioko Sud Forest Reserve, a remnant coastal forest in south-eastern Côte d'Ivoire, through a 6-month survey of nine restaurants, in three villages surrounding the Reserve. We collected quantitative and qualitative data on the bushmeat brought to restaurants, as well as the final price for which it was sold. We calculated mean prices over the study period and extrapolated to the whole year. A total of 376 mammals (98%) and eight reptiles (2%) were sold in the restaurants surveyed. Rodents and small antelopes represented 74% of the mammals sold, probably reflecting the fact that reproductive strategists persist more successfully in heavily hunted and/or agricultural landscapes, such as the area around the Reserve. Our conservative estimate of the total biomass of bushmeat harvested annually around the Reserve is c. 40,428.03 kg (c. 11,886 animals), with a monetary value of c. FCFA 47,728,516 (c. USD 93,485.75 ), yielding an annual income of c. USD10,387.31 per person, which exceeds the mean annual income of cocoa farmers (FCFA 466,032/USD 932) more than tenfold. Although the sustainability of the bushmeat trade in the surveyed area remains unknown, we showed that hunters predominantly used cable snares, the Reserve was significantly affected by hunting activities (c. 53% of the bushmeat originated there), and larger mammalian species had been extirpated. A lack of effective protection exposes the Reserve to multiple illegal activities, including hunting, a situation exacerbated by the political crisis in 2010.

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Also at: Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Also at: Unité de Formation et de Recherche d'Environnement, Université Jean Lorougnon Guédé, Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire

Also at: Laboratoire de Zoologie et Biologie Animale, Université Félix Houphouët Boigny d'Abidjan-Cocody, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

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