Numerous conservation professionals, African government representatives and other stakeholders have identified public awareness as a priority activity for addressing the bushmeat crisis. Nearly every meeting of bushmeat experts results in a call for public awareness efforts to support other solutions. Public awareness efforts in the U.S. and other developed nations aid in generating support to supplement African governmental and NGO efforts in the field. In Africa, providing information on the impacts of the bushmeat trade is critically important to enable individuals to make informed decisions regarding their purchasing practices. African leadership is essential to the success of any campaign that conveys messages regarding the unsustainable, illegal, commercial trade in wildlife as food. Local languages, customs and history must play a central role in the design of any public awareness campaign. Providing information to the news media generates press coverage that reaches a wide variety of individuals. When BCTF became operational in 2000, few individuals outside of regional experts were aware of the bushmeat crisis. In fact, few people were familiar with the term “bushmeat.” This term has become a key tool for gauging public awareness with the numerous issues that surround the illegal, commercial trade in wildlife for meat. To achieve its goals regarding public awareness, BCTF works closely with the news media, African educators and government officials, the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance and other interested individuals to develop a suite of materials and opportunities for reaching out to the public. One public awareness tool, the Bushmeat Promise, can be used by people around the world to register their commitment to solving the bushmeat crisis in Africa and globally.
Select the links below for more information on the major initiatives in this priority area.