Bushmeat hunting and trade dynamics in northern Ghana
Researcher name: Hannah Sackey
Period: August 2016 – July 2020
Title of DPhil: Bushmeat hunting and trade dynamics in northern Ghana
Funder: BANGA-Africa project
Other researchers: Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, EJ Milner-Gulland, James McNamara
The trade in wildlife products like bushmeat involves a major economic activity for the people involved in the commerce but also threatens many exploited species. Be it legal or illegal, the bushmeat trade is complicated by its dynamic nature and the different factors that come into play in facilitating it. My research seeks to describe bushmeat supply chains and obtain informed idea about factors influencing volume of trade and individuals’ hunting and trading behaviour.
Outline of scope research:
The current scale of bushmeat harvesting and trade is perceived as a significant driver in the decline of many wild animal populations in tropical forests especially in West and Central Africa. The bushmeat issue also poses serious threat to the food and livelihood security of the many people who depend on it. Varying factors such as livelihood issues, prices and hunting behaviour of individuals are known to affect the intensity and levels at which bushmeat is exploited. Then again some of these drivers may differ depending on habitat conditions, market access, availability of alternatives and effectiveness of legislation. Knowledge and understanding of factors driving the system can be useful in assessing exploitation levels and identification of areas of greatest impact to inform management options. I will use a range of methods in this research. Using a supply chain analysis my research will explore bushmeat supply chains and markets in northern Ghana where the trade is largely unexplored. This will be informative for identification of points along trade routes where management intervention could be most effective. Interviews will be used to obtain informed idea about factors influencing volume of trade and individuals’ hunting and trading behaviour to inform management decisions and facilitate monitoring of the trade.
This research is aimed at increasing knowledge of hunting and exploring the level and extent of trade in bushmeat in northern Ghana. The outcome of this research will provide basis for recommendations on how to best manage the threat of bushmeat hunting and trade to the long term conservation of wildlife resources.
The research objectives are to: 1) characterize bushmeat supply chains and markets in Northern Ghana, 2) Investigate the extent of long-distance trade to other regions in Ghana and cross-border trade with Burkina Faso, 3) Explore the landscape-level determinants of hunting pressure, 4) Explore factors that affect individuals’ hunting behaviour.
Summary of planned activities:
- Publish papers on the findings of this research.
- Based on the findings from this research recommendations will be provided to guide future conservation planning initiatives, aimed at regulating bushmeat exploitation and trade to benefit people and wildlife.