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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Bushmeat trade thriving in Kenya
Bushmeat, Glyn Davies
Bushmeat is an available source of protein in the absence of domesticated meat production
The meat from wild animals killed illegally is being sold in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, a report has said.

According to the Born Free Foundation, Nairobi is one of the many bushmeat trade "hot spots", which pose a serious threat to several wild animal species.

The Eating The Unknown report says many customers of Nairobi butchers are unaware that they are buying bushmeat.

The findings were presented at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species summit in Bangkok.

Disease spread

The report randomly surveyed 202 butchers in Nairobi and analysed the meat obtained from them at the Kenyan Wildlife Service's veterinary laboratory.

It found that 25% of the products surveyed were bushmeat and 19% a mixture of game and meat from domestic animals.

"The statistics suggest that nearly half the meat bought and sold from the 202 butcheries in the survey is either entirely or partly bushmeat," said Winnie Kiiru, East African representative of the Born Free Foundation.

This is of concern for people as well as wildlife because the spread of diseases such as anthrax and Ebola have been linked to human consumption of wild animals.

The trade in bushmeat is seen as one of the many threats facing African wildlife, including various monkey and antelope species as well as great apes such as the chimpanzee.

It has emerged as a key issue at Cites, which regulates global trade in wild flora and fauna.

No simple solution

A recent report from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) looked in detail at the bushmeat trade in Equatorial Guinea. It found people were buying bushmeat there because they had more money to spend and there was not a good alternative source of meat.

The ZSL said an improved production of domestic meat could take the pressure off endangered species.

The society argued that because people's livelihoods depended on the bushmeat trade, simply banning hunting outright was not a viable solution. The issue needed a more sophisticated approach, it said.

The signatories to Cites are meeting in the Thai capital for their 12-day biennial summit which ends on Thursday.

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