Prices, poaching, and protein alternatives: An analysis of bushmeat consumption around Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The consumption of meat from wild animals (or bushmeat) occurs throughout Africa and highlights the conflict between two distinct development goals: food security and biodiversity conservation. Growing human populations throughout the greater Serengeti ecosystem rely heavily on bushmeat as a source of protein, which places pressure on migratory wildlife populations. This paper uses unique data from protein consumption surveys from 131 households over 34months in a generalizable empirical framework to estimate price, cross-price, and expenditure elasticities of protein sources, and analyze the potential economic effects of policies to mitigate bushmeat hunting and consumption. Results suggest that: (1) directly increasing the price of bushmeat through enforcement or other policies to reduce supply will have the most direct and largest effect of bushmeat consumption; (2) increasing income increases bushmeat consumption as well as consumption of other meat sources; (3) if surrounding fisheries experience a negative shock, or collapse, this will lead to a dramatic increase in bushmeat consumption. Overall, these results strongly indicate that policies to reduce bushmeat hunting while maintaining food security must be considered in a broad and comprehensive framework.
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