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Meat prices influence the consumption of wildlife by the Tsimane' Amerindians of Bolivia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2002

Lilian Apaza
Affiliation:
Departamento de Biología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Casilla 10077 – Correo Central Campus Universitario, c/27 Cota Cota, La Paz, Bolivia
David Wilkie
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation Society, 18 Clark Lane, Waltham, MA 02451–1823, USA
Elizabeth Byron
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
Tomás Huanca
Affiliation:
Instituto Cultural Aruwiyiri, Casilla 9628, La Paz, Bolivia
William Leonard
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201, USA
Eddy Pérez
Affiliation:
Departamento de Biología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Casilla 10077 – Correo Central Campus Universitario, c/27 Cota Cota, La Paz, Bolivia
Victoria Reyes-García
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
Vincent Vadez
Affiliation:
Agronomy Physiology Laboratory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
Ricardo Godoy
Affiliation:
Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA
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Abstract

Wildlife (bushmeat or game) is the primary source of protein for most poor households in tropical forests, and its consumption is resulting in unsustainable hunting of large animals, even in isolated regions. As a result, loss of fauna is often a more immediate and significant threat to the conservation of biological diversity in tropical forests than is deforestation. Although the potential effects of the extirpation from tropical forests of large, seed predating and seed dispersing wild animals is poorly understood, it is likely that there will be irrevocable changes in the structure and function of these ecosystems. We carried out a survey of 510 households of Tsimane' Amerindians in the rainforest of Bolivia to investigate how the prices of game and meat from domesticated animals affect the consumption of game. The results indicated that the price of fish and meat from livestock is positively correlated with consumption of wildlife, suggesting that policy makers may be able to reduce the unsustainable hunting of wildlife for food by reducing the price of fish and the price of meat from domesticated animals relative to that of wildlife. Increasing the production of livestock without causing environmental degradation will require long-term public investment in agricultural research and extension, and substitution of fish for game meat in the absence of sustainable management regimes will result in over-exploitation of riverine and lacustrine fish stocks.

Type
Articles
Information
Oryx , Volume 36 , Issue 4 , October 2002 , pp. 382 - 388
Copyright
2002 Fauna & Flora International
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