Originally posted on DrexelNow.
The bushmeat market in the city of Malabo is bustling—more so today than it was nearly two decades ago, when Gail Hearn, PhD, began what is now one of the region’s longest continuously running studies of commercial hunting activity. At the peak of recorded activity in 2010, on any given day more than 30 freshly killed primates, such as Bioko red-eared monkeys and drills, were brought to market and sold to shoppers seeking such high-priced delicacies.
Hearn’s team has now published its comprehensive results of 13 years of daily monitoring bushmeat market activity in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers recorded more than 197,000 animal carcasses for sale during that time and analyzed market patterns in relation to political, economic and legal factors in the country of Equatorial Guinea in central Africa.
Among their notable findings: Bushmeat sales, a proxy for the level of wildlife hunting, increased steadily over the course of the study period, in tandem with increasing economic prosperity. Bushmeat hunting also rose in response to unenforced environmental conservation laws intended to limit the practice.
The study and its findings are noteworthy both for the history of the long-running project and the conservation implications of the results. (more…)