The rich, ecologically diverse forests in Africa are often referred to as “the bush,” and animals caught and killed for food are called bushmeat. The practice of obtaining bushmeat has long existed in Africa, however, as access to both forests and other communities has increased, hunting has begun to have a severe impact on several animal populations, and subsequently ecosystems, in Africa. The L.A. Zoo supports different organizations as they attempt to curb the practice of obtaining bushmeat in Africa.
To educate communities about bushmeat practices in Cameroon, the Pandrillus Foundation funds the Limbe Wildlife Center. At the Center, Cameroonians can visit captive populations of drills, mandrills, gorillas, and chimpanzees, amongst other primate species. Many Cameroonians never encounter these primates in any form other than bushmeat, and by seeing them alive, healthy, and well-cared for, the Center hopes to foster a sense of pride in the people of Cameroon about the wide variety of rare species endemic to their home country (which has the second highest primate diversity in Africa). Further understanding of the primates’ condition in Cameroon will hopefully lead to a decrease in the bushmeat market.
The L.A. Zoo has also granted funding to the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, which is part of the academic partnership between Drexel University and the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial. BBPP works to conserve biodiversity on the African island of Bioko, both by providing funding for unarmed guards in the Gran Caldera (a highly biodiverse volcanic crater) and by conducting daily surveys of the largest bushmeat market on the island. By conducting bushmeat surveys, the BBPP can track island hunting patterns and collect tissue samples of the species that are brought into the market to further research and understanding.
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