Several species of wildlife are hunted around the world for the perceived potency of certain parts of their bodies in traditional medicine and in fetish practices. In Africa, many cultures require animal parts for a wide range of traditional and religious practices. This has resulted in the persecution of more than 354 bird species across the continent. In this study, we evaluated the drivers and frequency of human-related avian mortality focusing on the trade in avian body parts around major protected areas in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria. We conducted personal interviews with men from 18 villages in proximity to four natural areas in the region, and asked the men questions related to their knowledge of trade in avian body parts. From the responses obtained, we identified 27 bird species from 13 families in regional trade. Three of the top 5 most reported species are globally threatened. Both knowledge of and participation in the trade were pervasive across the study sites and across different occupational groups. 94% of respondents claimed knowledge of trade in avian body parts; 66% had participated in that trade in the last 2years. To identify predictors of participation in the avian body part trade, we fitted all possible model combinations using the Generalized Linear Mixed Model approach and ranked them based on their AICc values. The top-ranked model identified age, average monthly income, perceived personal need for avian body parts, and number of wives as the top socio-economic drivers of participation. Younger people and villagers with low monthly income were more likely to participate in the trade. Probability of involvement also increased with the number of wives and a perceived personal need for avian body parts. The former may be an indication of a larger household that requires more resources to sustain it; the latter likely reflects personal conviction of the efficacy of using avian body parts in traditional medicine and other cultural practices. Our study highlights the importance of targeting socio-economic factors and integrating cultural needs of the people into conservation planning aimed at reducing human–wildlife conflicts.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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