“Bushmeat hunting” is the hunting of meat from wild animals for human food, and it’s transforming the rain forests throughout Africa. When humans kill gorillas and other primates for food, they can no longer disperse fruit and nut seeds essential to the ecosystem. We must support the efforts of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force to preserve both primates and forest plants.
Although hunting for bushmeat from endangered primates is illegal, they are frequently used for food in Africa. Protein-rich foods are scarce and there are few taboos about eating primates in African cultures. Newly-built roads allow hunters to sell primate carcasses to city markets, which yield good profits.
According to Sweedish ecologist, Ola Olsson, “The seedling communities of the forest floors are really different in a hunted forest compared to a well-protected forest. In the long run, that’s going to make the hunted forest look quite different from what they do today.” Olsson and his colleagues surveyed plants and animals in the Nigerian Rain Forest and found that the forests of over-hunted areas were lacking seedlings, such as bush mangoes, that rely on primates to spread their seeds.
Other animals, and even humans, depend upon these fruits for nutrition and economic sale. Another ecologist, Joanna Lambert, added that, “Without primates and other large-bodied mammals, forests are not regenerating in the way they’ve evolved to do over millions of years.”
Sign my petition to support the efforts of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force and stop bushmeat hunting in Africa. With their help, we can increase fines and law enforcement for hunting and selling these meats and improve local access to other types of protein-rich foods.