Poaching Across The Generations

Lauren Redmore

 

Transfer of knowledge about hunting and wildlife happens from a young age when children accompany their parents to the forest. Here a hunter-in-training has dug a hole in the ground and used local materials to construct this trap to catch mice. These traps are made by young children who, especially during the summer vacation, have little to keep them occupied. When they catch a mouse, they gut it and roast it for a special treat.

One of the scary phenomena that we see in Cameroon is the recent development of international black market trade within forest-dependent communities. While the media tends to cover poaching crises concerning the ivory trade, here we see how pangolin scales are collected by hunters smoking pangolin meat. The scales are often sold into black markets and Chinese medicine believes that they can be useful to cure many diseases, including those associated with the liver, stomach, and blood. This likely will increase pressure on pangolin populations, including the endangered giant pangolin (Manis gigantean), especially as it is possible that the scales are more valuable than the meat.

Here, poachers were caught transporting many animals killed for the bushmeat trade. Most of these animals have been smoked, which allows for easier transport. Can you identify these animals? There are pangolin, duiker, porcupine, and others that will fetch high prices once in the city market.

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