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The role of game mammals as bushmeat In the Caatinga, northeast Brazil

Raynner Rilke D. Barboza, Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil; Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Brazil
Sérgio F. Lopes, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Brazil
Wedson M. S. Souto, Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil; Universidade Federal do Piauí, Campus Amílcar Ferreira Sobral, Laboratório de Etnobiologia e Conservação (LECON), Piauí, Brazil
Hugo Fernandes-Ferreira, Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil; Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Departamento de Biologia, Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Rômulo R. N. Alves, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Brazil

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08358-210202

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Abstract

Although the use of wild mammals as a source of food has been better studied in tropical forest environments, their importance as a source of protein for human communities in semiarid environments is little known. In the latter, the availability of wild animal meat is limited in comparison to other environments. In the semiarid regions of northeastern Brazil, hunting wild mammals for their meat is traditional, playing a crucial role in the livelihoods and food security of various rural and urban communities, especially during the annual drought seasons. In this study, we investigated the role of wild mammals as bushmeat in 10 communities within the Caatinga biome in northeast Brazil. We used key-informant interviews, household surveys, and questionnaires to determine the species hunted and consumed. We found that about 30 species were used for bushmeat, with communities clustering into two main groups. We showed that in almost all municipalities visited, all mammals hunted were reported after interview days. A total of 46.9% of hunters consumed bushmeat at least once a week. However, preference for bushmeat over livestock was perceived to be more a matter of taste (61.50% of respondents) than a real need for protein supplementation from the wild. The ease of entering environmental areas where wild mammals can be found has disadvantages for wildlife in terms of pressure and overexploitation, especially where it concerns endangered species. The key to understanding the socioeconomic, cultural, and ecological contexts in which there are traditional uses is to develop conservationist strategies suitable for the socioeconomic reality of human populations.

Key words

conservation; ethnozoology; hunting practices; local ecological knowledge; mammals; semiarid region

Copyright © 2016 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