The debate over bushmeat, meat from wild animals like gorillas, elephants, and antelope in Central Africa, just got more complicated. While some environmentalists have argued that a strict hunting ban is the only way to save endangered animals, a new report from the non-profit Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) argues that a blanket hunting ban would help neither the animals nor the people who depend on them for food.
However, bushmeat hunting also can’t continue at its current rate, the report states. “If current levels of hunting persist in Central Africa, bush meat protein supplies will fall dramatically, and a significant number of forest mammals will become extinct in less than 50 years” [Telegraph], says report author Robert Nasi. The best solution is to legalize some hunting while enacting tough regulations and enforcement, says CIFOR director Frances Seymour: “Criminalising the whole issue of bushmeat simply drives it underground. We need to decriminalise parts of this hunting and trade and give local communities the rights and incentives to manage these resources sustainably for their own benefit” [BBC News].