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Ride, shoot, and call: wildlife use among contemporary urban hunters in Três Fronteiras, Brazilian Amazon

Nathalie van Vliet, Center for International Forestry Research
Daniel Cruz, Fundación Science International - CIFOR
Maria Paula Quiceno-Mesa, Fundación Science International
Lindon Jonhson Neves de Aquino, Universidade Federal do Amazonas
Jessica Moreno, Fundación Science International
Rairon Ribeiro, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Instituto Natureza e Cultura
John Fa, Center for International Forestry Research


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Most bushmeat studies in the Amazon region focus on hunting patterns of indigenous populations in rural settings. Our study describes the existence of urban hunters in medium-sized towns. Using a variety of data collection methods, we describe the main socioeconomic characteristics of urban hunters in Benjamin Constant and Atalaia do Norte, Brazil. We analyze the patterns and motivations of urban hunters as well as the type of prey harvested and quantities traded. All interviewed hunters are caboclos, people of mixed Brazilian indigenous and European origins from rural areas who now live in urban and peri-urban areas. Living in these more populated spaces allows these hunters better market options for their harvest and allows them to alternate hunting with other economic activities. Only 29% of the interviewed hunters relied solely on hunting. In total, 11.6 tons of bushmeat were harvested (of which 97% was traded) by four hunters during the monitoring period (60 days). The most hunted species were terecay (Podocnemis unifilis), curassow (Crax sp.), paca (Cuniculus paca), and tapir (Tapirus terrestris). The ratio of bushmeat sold to that consumed, as well as the level of participation in the bushmeat market chain, allowed us to differentiate between specialized and diversified hunters. Specialized hunters sell 81% of the bushmeat caught to known wholesalers in the city. Diversified hunters sell 21% of their total catch to families, neighbors, or friends directly as fresh meat, avoiding intermediaries. For all hunters, hunting localities are associated with peri-urban roadways that are easily reached by motorbike or bicycle from the hunters’ houses in the urban areas or city fringes. Our results show that urban hunters in medium-sized towns exemplify how traditional hunting systems can be adapted in the face of globalization, by living close to the market, at relatively manageable distances from hunting grounds, and using modern methods of transportation and communication to bypass law enforcement.

Key words

Brazil; bushmeat; hunting; subsistence hunting; Três Fronteiras; urban hunters

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087