Biodiversity Conservation and Commercial Bushmeat Hunting Challenges in African Parks and Protected Areas: A Critical Review and Synthesis of the Literature

Oliver O. O. Enuoh, Francis E. Bisong


Biodiversity conservation is seriously threatened in African parks and protected areas due to the explosion of commercial bushmeat hunting activities in buffer zone communities. Though commercial bushmeat hunting challenges are ostensibly underpinned by several factors (e.g. rural livelihoods challenges, wildlife management failure, unsustainable hunting practices, human population explosion, cultural factors, logging activities and road construction into hitherto intact forest reserves), the paper reveals that property rights struggles – hinging on colonial nationalization of the forest lands of local communities (now parks), constitutes the core of the problem.

The existing literature attaches importance to livelihoods alternatives as mechanism of addressing the problem. The paper however argues that payment of compensation (sustainably) or annual land rents to buffer zone communities (as landlords), hinging on conservation agreements vis-a-vis colonially nationalized forest lands (now parks), will address the problem of commercial bushmeat hunting more effectively in the long term, and thus recommends this strategy strongly to policy makers. The paper also recommends biological species inventories and wildlife surveys as research trajectories that can inform and determine other appropriate conservation strategies in parks experiencing commercial bushmeat hunting challenges in Africa.

Keywords: Biodiversity, parks, conservation, bushmeat and hunting

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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