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Changes in the composition of hunting catches in southeastern Cameroon: a promising approach for collaborative wildlife management between ecologists and local hunters

Hirokazu Yasuoka, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Masaaki Hirai, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Towa O. W. Kamgaing, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University; School for the Training of Wildlife Specialists Garoua
Zeun's C. B. Dzefack, Department of Forestry, University of Dschang
Eric Chrétien Kamdoum, Department of Forestry, University of Dschang
Kadiri S. Bobo, Department of Forestry, University of Dschang; School for the Training of Wildlife Specialists Garoua

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08041-200425

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Abstract

In recent years, both depletion of wild animals and declining food supply have threatened the livelihoods of people inhabiting the forests of the Congo Basin, and rendered the bushmeat trade a national and global concern. Because initial approaches to wildlife management were criticized for lacking consideration of the customary rights of local people, a variety of projects have been proposed to ensure their active participation in management initiatives. However, unfamiliar with the concepts of conservation ecology, local people have found it difficult to contribute effectively. This paper proposes an approach to monitor the status of fauna, based on the ratio of blue duikers (Philantomba monticola) to medium-sized duikers (Cephalophus spp.) for the total number of hunting catches (the catch B/M). Analysis of changes in the composition of hunting catches across multiple sites in southeastern Cameroon revealed the following trends: (1) without substantive human intervention, i.e., hunting pressure and forest disturbance, medium-sized duikers were densely distributed while blue duikers were sparse, so that the catch B/M was low; (2) under moderate human intervention, blue duikers became more densely distributed while the original density of medium-sized duikers was maintained, so that the catch B/M increased; (3) with extensive human intervention in specific areas, medium-sized duikers became sparsely distributed while a relatively high density of blue duikers was maintained, so that the catch B/M increased significantly and a mosaic of different compositions of duikers was formed; and (4) with extensive human intervention extending over the specific extensive area, both medium-sized and blue duikers became sparse. It appears that the catch B/M predicts changes in the status of game animals and of the background wild fauna, and is both a sufficiently reliable variable for ecologists and perceptible for local people. Furthermore, this approach has the potential to cultivate a relationship of trust between ecologists and local people, which is indispensable in establishing effective collaborative wildlife management.

Key words

Baka Pygmy; Bantu farmer; blue duiker (Philantomba monticola); catch B/M; medium-sized duiker (Cephalophus spp.)

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

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087