Wildlife Without Borders / Africa - Summary

MENTOR Program

Mentoring for Environmental Training in Outreach and Resources conservation to Reduce Illegal Bushmeat Exploitation in Eastern Africa program

Problem Statement

There is an urgent need for information and action to reduce illegal bushmeat exploitation in Eastern Africa. Eastern Africa is facing a serious decline in wildlife populations outside protected areas that is believed to be due to the bushmeat trade as a result of growing human populations, poverty, and the demand for meat (Stein and BCTF 2001). According to a study by Born Free in 2004, bushmeat was found readily available at butcheries in Nairobi, Kenya. Huge profits were realized as bushmeat was sold as domestic meat which commands higher prices than bushmeat (Born Free 2004). Loss in wildlife populations is occurring at the same time as the tourism industry in Eastern Africa is expanding. Wildlife in Eastern Africa has been very important for tourism development in these countries.

There is currently a huge gap in information about bushmeat exploitation in Eastern Africa. The last comprehensive documentation of the commercial bushmeat trade and its impacts on wildlife populations in the region was published by TRAFFIC in 2000 (Barnett 2000). Illegal bushmeat exploitation is believed to be growing significantly in Eastern Africa in recent years and a new regional field-based assessment and strategies for action are urgently required. Based on a new field review to understand the current problems, innovative responses can be identified and implemented to find solutions to the domestic and transboundary bushmeat problems in Eastern Africa.

In order to conduct the new field assessments and to apply innovative actions, a well-trained interdisciplinary network of Eastern African specialists is needed who can implement responses on: 1) bushmeat research and monitoring, 2) law enforcement, 3) policy and legal solutions, 4) alternative livelihood interventions, 5) wildlife-human health interactions, and 6) education and constituency building activities.

MENTOR Description

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the College of African Wildlife Management- Mweka, Tanzania (Mweka), and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) are working together to develop a “model” mentored fellowship program through Wildlife Without Borders (WWB)- Africa that will build the capacity of an interdisciplinary network of eight African wildlife professionals to strongly influence and lead efforts to reduce illegal bushmeat exploitation at local and regional levels in Eastern Africa. This new program entitled MENTOR (Mentoring for ENvironmental Training in Outreach and Resources conservation) to Reduce Illegal Bushmeat Exploitation in Eastern Africa will provide training for the fellows while building a regional network to deal with bushmeat exploitation. The program will conduct local bushmeat field assessments, carry out wide outreach activities through stakeholder meetings, and develop innovative pilot projects on multi-pronged solutions to the bushmeat trade.

Program Goal

Reduce the illegal and unsustainable commercial trade in bushmeat in East Africa by raising the capacity of emerging wildlife managers and leaders in the region.

Program Outputs

  • A model mentored fellowship program, including a step-by-step procedural manual on “How to design and implement a mentored fellowship program”.
  • A cadre of eight highly trained wildlife professionals from several eastern African countries who are capable of developing innovative solutions for curtailing the illegal bushmeat trade in Eastern Africa.
  • The formation of an Eastern Africa network of professionals and organizations addressing illegal bushmeat exploitation.
  • Increased level of information available to local, national, and international stakeholders on the status of bushmeat in Eastern Africa and at high priority sites. Information will be transmitted via the Bushmeat Information Management and Analysis Project (IMAP) and other identified mechanisms.
  • Bushmeat mitigation activities completed and fundable proposals with actionable items developed for four high priority sites.
  • Greater capacity of the College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, to conduct bushmeat courses as part of their core curriculum reaching hundreds of wildlife professionals each year.
  • Tools for measuring professional development and project success developed.

BCTF has promoted the development of a bushmeat curriculum at Mweka Wildlife College since 2002. We are an advisor to this WWB-Africa project, as well as a partner in communicating results.

For further information, please contact
Nancy Gelman
Program Manager
Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group
1250 24th Street, NW
Washington , DC 20037 USA
phone: 202-778-9736 ; fax: 202-861-8377

© 1999-2009 Bushmeat Crisis Task Force