‘Bushmeat’ is an African term for the meat of wild animals and refers to all terrestrial vertebrates consumed in tropical areas.

Chimpanzees, gorillas and more than 40 other mammal species are hunted for their meat in the Lebialem Highlands. Hunting for bushmeat generates vital income for rural communities, but the trade in bushmeat is unsustainable.

The traditional practice of hunting has evolved into a large-scale commercial activity due to rapid human population growth, socioeconomic change, infrastructure development and technological improvements. Bushmeat consumption across the Congo Basin is estimated at       4.9 million tonnes per year, with hunting occurring at more than six times the sustainable rate.

Species extinctions, food shortages and additional financial difficulties for forest-adjacent communities are inevitable outcomes of the bushmeat trade if we do not act now to develop economic and nutritional alternatives.

Research focusing on bushmeat hunting in Lebialem was conducted in 2007 and a research article published in the academic journal Endangered Species Research.