Field Report

Field Report from Congo on the risk along the bushmeat trade chain

Zoonosis risk along the bushmeat value-chains. The case of Salonga National Park and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Funded Period:           December 2021 – May 2023
Reporting Period:       June 2022 – December 2022

What is it about?
The overall objective of this project is to identify and map the risks of zoonotic disease transmission in bushmeat trade along value-chains from a source to the end markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That includes characterising and assessing the scale of the bushmeat trade between a National Park and urban centres, the species consumed and traded, the modes and drivers behind the consumption and trade along the value-chains, detecting and measuring the presence of pathogens in bushmeat samples at varoius nodes of the value-chains, quantifying the risks triggering pathogen presence and loads, transmission to humans, and spread of infections to human populations along the value-chains. 

More information about the project here

Status Quo of the Project:

  • the data collection in the field was finalised: 170 markets and bushmeat sales/trade points surveyed, 832 biological samples of bushmeat collected, 1660 questionnaires and focus groups conducted
  • the data are currently being finalised
  • lab protocols were developed, and lab analyses started
  • recommendations will be shared with national and international institutions, NGOs, CSOs and the general population to develop a reference framework for the fundraising, design and implementation of a behavioural and demand reduction campaign to reduce the zoonotic spillover risk.
Taking samples, copyright by William Crosmary (WWF)

Key messages:

  • Teaming up with a renown and governmental rooted local partner helped to get the buy-in by the national and local authorities.
  • Building the local communities’ trust is essential for researchers to be able collect data and information. This is being done by explaining the purpose of the study in detail and presenting the study as a tool contributing to the reduction of current and future health risks, so that the benefits for the communities are made clear. 

International context/relevance in the international context:

The gained insights can be used as an example for this region and neighbouring countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo is an exceptionally important country in the context of zoonotic spillover risks from wildlife due to its very high biodiversity and the high wildlife consumption. Some of the results/insights can be used for similar contexts in other countries.