Tag Archives: Global Viral Forecasting Initiative

Bushmeat: The bigger picture

Bushmeat is one of those complicated issues that is often oversimplified and sensationalised by conservation and animal welfare organisations because of the emotions it stirs up in people and how easy it is to capitalise on our reactive needs to do something about a problem when confronted with the gruesome but simplified reality of a monkey being carved up for lunch.

There is no question of the alarming conservation and welfare issues surrounding the consumption and trade in bushmeat that have to be tackled if we are to ensure the survival of certain species, particularly the great apes in western and central Africa. But there is also no question that everything is interelated. Kenya is facing one of its worst droughts in history and not suprisingly, this is leading to an increase in wild game consumption. We posted recently about this HERE after reading an article in the Standard about the worrying increase of wild game meat consumption within the coastal province. Poverty and hunger and a lack of response from the government authorities means that peope have to do what it takes to survive, feed their children and themselves.

I just came across a very interesting video from the TED 2009 posted by Erik Hersman (thanks, Erik!) on his blog.  This is a talk given by Nathan Wolfe from the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative who focuses on the disease interface between wildlife and humans and how they are using working closely with hunters in Cameroon who are taking blood samples from their catch to be examined for disease. This way, the people themselves who are only a symptom of the viscious cycle of poverty and human greed can at least be part of the knowledge process in making decisions and knowing what is at stake in consumption of bushmeat.

Please take the time to watch the video below. We hope that in the near future, the Colobus Trust will be able to address some of the bigger issues surrounding bushmeat consumption through a holistic approach that addresses every trajectory into this despairing practice of eating wild game.

I would also be very interested to hear other people’s thoughts on the video so do post a comment.

Click on the image below to take you to the video

Nathan Wolfe