About the WILDMEAT project

The term ‘wild meat’ (or ‘bushmeat’ in Africa) refers to terrestrial wild animals used for food in all parts of the world (IUCN World Conservation Congress 2000).

Header photo: © Dan Ingram

Background

You can’t manage what you do not know and you don’t know something unless you measure and monitor it. This is the aim of the wild meat database. Up to 11 million tons of wild meat are harvested per year in rainforests only; much more if we add other biomes (savannas, temperate and boreal forests). This makes wild meat harvesting and trade a major biodiversity threat for hundreds of species, including non-human primates and emblematic large mammal species. As animals progress along wildlife meat value chains, spill-over risks increase with the opportunity for human contacts (hunters, traders, butchers, cooks, and consumers). It is therefore of the utmost importance to document this thoroughly.”

Dr Robert Nasi

Director General, CIFOR

Wild meat: A resource under pressure

As many as 2000 species of invertebrates, amphibians, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals are used as wild meat globally (Redmond et al. 2006). Wild meat or wild fish represent the main sources of protein, fat and micronutrients (such as iron) for millions of rural and forest people (Fa et al. 2016b). Wild meat also makes a crucial contribution to food security in circumstances where other food supply chains fail, and wild meat represents the sole or primary source of protein available. For example, it can become a vital ‘safety net’ in times of economic hardship, civil unrest, drought or disruption in the supply of alternatives (e.g. domestic meat and fish). Income from the sale of wild meat also contributes to the food security of rural families, when it is used to purchase other crucial food supplies (Lindsey et al. 2011a).

However, growing human populations, technological advances in hunting techniques, increasing access to once-remote habitats, and the emergence of a commercial wild meat trade –  often to supply urban centres –  have culminated in harvest rates that are causing significant declines in wildlife populations (Benítez-López et al. 2017). Species declines can result in profound ecosystem changes, ranging from coextinctions of interacting species to the loss of ecological services critical for humanity (Ripple et al. 2017; Young et al. 2016). Moreover, the loss of wildlife used as a main source of meat by local communities will impact the food security and livelihoods of these communities, exposing vulnerable households to further poverty (Fa et al. 2003; Lindsey et al. 2015).

Link: A recent review of wild meat issues is provided in the CIFOR/CBD technical report “Towards a sustainable, participatory and inclusive wild meat sector”. Further publications and reports can be found through the WILDMEAT library portal.

The need for a wild meat evidence base

The creation of long-term global, regional and national monitoring frameworks for wild meat to inform policy and legal interventions are crucial steps in recognizing the importance of existing wild meat use and trade, and designing relevant interventions to manage it sustainably, where possible.

Designing effective polices requires robust data on wild meat use, including the use of wild meat for food and income by local communities, the trade in wild meat locally, nationally and regionally, and the impact of use on species and ecosystems. However, many projects aiming to sustainably manage wild meat harvests do not currently monitor progress towards their aims and objectives. WILDMEAT can support projects by providing any available baseline data from the same area, as well as standardised, tested tools and methods for monitoring wild meat use to allow for comparison of wild meat datasets within and across sites.

At the national and regional level, few governments and regional observatories currently track wild meat use. This can lead to the importance of wild meat in the national and local economy being overlooked, leading to an undervaluation of the services that sustainably managed ecosystems provide. WILDMEAT can provide information to national and regional bodies, so that national and regional statistics for areas such as nutrition, health, trade and GDP can include wild meat use.

Project aims

The aim of the WILDMEAT project is to ensure that efforts to sustainably govern and manage wild meat resources are based on the best available evidence. We aim to do this by providing wildmeat researchers, practitioners, policy makers and other stakeholders with:

  • Up to date information on current wildmeat use and trade worldwide, through the WILDMEAT database (explore the WILDMEAT database)
  • Access to current research and thinking on wildmeat, through the WILDMEAT library (explore the WILDMEAT library)
  • Standardised tools and methodologies for monitoring and evaluating wildmeat use (explore the WILDMEAT toolkit)
  • A forum for engaging with other wild meat practitioners, policy makers and researchers, to share lessons learned.

We are currently developing the WILDMEAT data explorer, and finalizing the online sign-up for becoming a data contributor and data user. In the meantime, if you are interested in making your datasets available through the WILDMEAT database, or have any other enquires about the project, please get in touch with us at info@wildmeat.org. Thank you!

Team members

Christian Mikolo Yobo

Senior Researcher at IRET

Central Africa

Daniel Ingram

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Stirling

Research and Data Analysis

Della Kemalasari

Data Curator at CIFOR

Database

Donald Midoko Iponga

Director of IRET

Central Africa

Francis Tarla

Director at CABAG

Central Africa

Katharine Abernethy

Professor at the University of Stirling

Project management

Lauren Coad

Research Fellow at CIFOR

Project management

Michelle Wieland

Socio-Economic Advisor for the WCS Africa Program

Central Africa

Paul Loundou

PhD Student at IRET

Central Africa

Robert Nasi

CIFOR Director General

Project Management

Usman Muchlish

Senior Research Data Officer at CIFOR

Database

Yahya Sampurna

Web Team Leader at CIFOR

Website

 

Partners and funders

The WILDMEAT Partnership comprises a group of organisations who manage the WILDMEAT Project, including the WILDMEAT Database. The partnership currently includes:

THE PARTNERSHIP
SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS AND PROJECTS
The partnership also works closely with the following organizations and projects:
FUNDERS

Contacts

General contact

Info@wildmeat.org