Bushmeat in Nigeria

Hunting Our Wildlife to Extinction (Nigeria)

The average Nigerian’s love for bushmeat is legendary. It is so serious that on sighting any wild animal, thoughts of the cooking pot take centre stage! It is a common sight to see young men ‘excavating’ large expanses of land in the quest to trap rats; not to mention the yearly indiscriminate bush burning activities in the hunt for wildlife.

For almost a century, Nigerians have been hunting animals as a source of protein and the resources are fast depleting, due to the excessive pressure on wildlife. Yes, the argument is that bushmeat is healthier because of its low level of fat, but the question remains, how can we keep the supply fresh? Researchers estimate that about half a million tonnes of bushmeat are killed every year in Nigeria. The danger is that if animals continued to be hunted with such reckless abandon, especially large mammals that have slow rates of reproduction, many of these animals would become extinct in a few decades. It is important to note that some species of wild animals that were abundant a few decades ago have become very difficult to come by. Two decades ago, when journeying through Nigeria, you were always greeted with the sight of cheap bushmeat for sale at almost every stop, but these days, it is scarce and very expensive. Local hunters in Ogori, a community in Kogi State, would regale you with tales of how it was so easy to hunt when they were younger because bushmeat was abundant. Read rest of the article

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