Event Report

Voices from the Ground: What to learn from a bushmeat consumption and trade survey across the huge landscape of Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic Congo

Yesterday we had our Voices from the Ground Event with William Crosmary from WWF Germany, who spoke about the bushmeat consumption and trade in the landscape of Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the very large-scale survey he and his team are implementing as part of the project.

William is the Project Manager of Easter & Southern Africa of WWF Germany. He holds a PhD in Biology and has 20 years of working experience in protected areas, species conservation, biomonitoring, animal behaviour, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade and conservation policies in Africa.

He started the presentation with a first overview of the context, to better understand the framework/structure and some of the later mentioned challenges of the still on-going project. It is particularly important to understand the impact of the location of the project site alone. The Salonga landscape stretches over a very large area (> 63 500 km²) and consists of pristine tropical forest. Poor infrastructure, rivers and the rainy season made it sometimes very difficult to reach certain regions and communities to conduct the surveys.

William then went on to address the following points: communities that depend on the forest as their major source for food and income and the importance of the Salonga landscape as a source of bushmeat. The trade chain of bushmeat involves a lot of different parties such as hunters, wholesalers, rural households, market traders, secondary wholesalers and urban households. Each of these groups of people have their own context-specific health risks when dealing with wildlife and reasons why wildlife is being traded and consumed. The gender-related roles within the trade chain should be emphasised here because different strategies for action can arise from that. For example, men are traditionally involved in hunting wildlife, whereas women are responsible for selling it at the markets.

He went on to explain the exact methods being used and the development of the protocols, as well as the selection and training of the field teams. One of the realisations that emerged during the field work was the difficulty in ensuring the quality of the survey responses, as the communication with the teams in the field was limited.

Finally, the practical implementation and the to challenges corresponding adjustments to data collection, storing, processing and evaluation were discussed.

In the open discussion and Q&A that followed, the foreseen recommendations were addressed and, among other things, language barriers and their impact on the exact naming of species or place names, and the inclusion of the One Health approach with regard to staff were discussed.

Registered Alliance members can find the recording of the presentation in the members area under the Voices from the Ground Thread in the ‘News & Community’ forum.