The Bushmeat Crisis
What do you think is the number one threat to animals in Africa? Habitat destruction? Global climate change? Hunting?
Many experts say the greatest immediate threat to Africa’s wildlife is poverty. Tragically many poor Africans desperate to earn a living hunt wildlife for protein and for the cash they need to survive by get by selling "bushmeat" from the wild animals they kill. Beyond the alarming loss of wildlife, bushmeat can spread dangerous diseases to people in Africa and wherever the illegal products are exported.
Going, Going, Gone?
As you read this, African bushmeat hunters are killing off populations of wild monkeys, apes, elephants, hippos, rhinos and even rodents. And the value of this wildlife year is roughly $2 billion a year. Much of the bushmeat is sold to loggers and miners working for international corporations extracting lumber and minerals from remote areas of equatorial rainforest.
Cruel Hunting Methods
Poachers—illegal hunters—who cannot afford or obtain guns and arrows, trap animals with snares made from brake cables, phone lines and even steel wire ripped out of discarded tires. Snared animals are left to die slowly and painfully. Routinely, orphan chimps and other animals are left to fend for themselves after their parents are killed.
What Can You Do About the Bushmeat Crisis?
• Educate yourself and your community about the bushmeat crisis and problems related to poverty in Africa. One good source on the web it the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force at www.bushmeat.org
• Encourage elected officials to support international legislation aimed at stopping the illegal bush meat trade.
• Support sustainable “fair trade” organizations promoting the sustainable harvest of rainforest products in Africa.
• Support organizations actively involved in wild animal conservation and efforts to stop the illegal pet trade.