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Bushmen and mammal-fauna: a survey of the mammals traded in bush-meat markets of local people in the rainforests of south-eastern Nigeria

Francesco M. ANGELICI, Luca LUISELLI, Edoardo POLITANO & Godfrey C. AKANI

en Anthropozoologica 30 - Pages 51-58

Published on 01 March 2000

The mammalian species found in bush-meat markets of local communities in south-eastern Nigeria are studied. In all, 35 different species were recorded. Small-sized mammals of the orders Rodentia and Insectivora were not traded. Among the traded species, the majority were Carnivora and Artiodactyla (both with ten species), and Rodentia (seven species). With regard to this latter order it should be noted that the great majority of the traded specimens belonged to Cricetomys gambianus, Thryonomys swinderianus and Atherurus africanus which represent an important source of protein for local bush people. Frequently traded also were Manis tricuspis, Potamochoerus porcus, Tragelaphus scriptus, and Cephalophus monticola. Some of these mammals may serve the purposes of animistic ritual, sexual intitiations, and medical practices, as well as for food. Some of the mammal species are important from the conservation point of view (e.g. Panthera pardus, Loxodonta africana). Fruit-bats were traded for food only in small villages surrounded by forests. Guenons (genus Cercopithecus) were traded for a variety of reasons. One species (C. sclateri) is endemic to the eastern Niger Delta, and deserves special conservation efforts.

Keywords :

Mammals, ethnology, bush-meat markets, South-eastern Niger Delta, Nigeria.

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