What is the Bushmeat Crisis?

Bushmeat defined

In Africa, forest is often referred to as 'the bush', thus wildlife and the meat derived from it is referred to as 'bushmeat' (in French - viande de brousse). This term applies to all wildlife species, including threatened and endangered, used for meat including: elephant; gorilla; chimpanzee and other primates; forest antelope (duikers); crocodile; porcupine; bush pig; cane rat; pangolin; monitor lizard; guinea fowl; etc.

BCTF is most concerned with bushmeat that is illegally, commercially and/or unsustainably derived from wildlife, including that characterized by:

  • Illegal methods of hunting (wire snares, unregistered guns);
  • Illegal species (endangered, threatened, or protected);
  • Taken from unauthorized areas; and
  • Unsustainable offtake for commercial trade or non-commercial uses.

Bushmeat crisis

Though habitat loss is often cited as the primary threat to wildlife, commercial hunting for the meat of wild animals has become the most significant immediate threat to the future of wildlife in Africa and around the world; it has already resulted in widespread local extinctions in Asia and West Africa. This threat to wildlife is a crisis because it is rapidly expanding to countries and species which were previously not at risk, largely due to an increase in commercial logging, with an infrastructure of roads and trucks that links forests and hunters to cities and consumers. The bushmeat crisis is a human tragedy as well: the loss of wildlife threatens the livelihoods and food security of indigenous and rural populations most depend on wildlife as a staple or supplement to their diet, and bushmeat consumption is increasingly linked to deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and Foot and Mouth disease.

Featured Publications

Bushmeat: A Wildlife Crisis in West and Central Africa and Around the World838.02 KB
Bushmeat Summary for 2000 Africa Summit421.31 KB
Roots of the Bushmeat Crisis (AZA article)697.28 KB
© 1999-2009 Bushmeat Crisis Task Force