Harvesting and consumption of bushmeat in the Sudd region: case study of Badinigilo National Park, South Sudan
Jubara, Nadlin J. S.
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Bushmeat consumption and trade have been major threats to many wildlife species in Africa, especially under conditions of economic and political instability. South Sudan is one of the East African countries that has been experiencing repeated political and social strife, conditions that are known to exacerbate bushmeat trade and consumption. This study assessed the extent of bush meat consumption and trade from the Sudd region of South Sudan. This information is important in aiding proper design and management of wildlife. Data was collected using structured questionnaires administered to two communities that surround Badingilo National Park. The two communities practice contrasting farming systems; one is predominantly crop farming (the Mongalla) while the other practices agro-pastoralism (the Terekeka). A total of 210 households were included in this study, 107 from Mongalla and 103 from the Terekeka agro-pastoralists. Additionally, 50 Bushmeat tissue samples were collected from bushmeat traders and subjected to DNA analysis for verification of species involved. Results show that (95%) of the people in the study area consume bush meat. The frequency of consumption was high (55% of respondents consumed bush meat every week) at an average of 2.72 kg/per households per week. A large proportion of households from both areas (31%) were engaged in bushmeat related activities. The species most involved in bushmeat harvesting and consumption were large mammals in the following decreasing order: reedbuck> duiker> bushbuck > Mangalla gazelle >worthog >bushpig > hippotamus > guinea fowl and rats. These results show that illegal bush meat consumption and wild life hunting at present levels may affect the distribution and density of wildlife species and is likely to be unsustainable for most large-bodied animals. This needs urgent intervention to reduce such activity otherwise this will negatively impact wild animals immensely and drive some wild animal species to local extinction