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Urban wild meat markets in Cameroon: Actors and motives

Randolph, Shannon G., Ingram, Daniel J., Curran, Lisa M., Holland Jones, James, Durham, William H. (2022) Urban wild meat markets in Cameroon: Actors and motives. World Development, 160 . Article Number 106060. ISSN 0305-750X. (doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.106060) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:99540)

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Wild meat (called ‘bushmeat’ or ‘viande de brousse’ in Central Africa) embodies a centuries-old livelihood and cultural exchange system that continues to play an important role in informal urban economies. From earlier studies, we know that selling the meat from wild animals provides a vital source of income to people in both rural and urban areas. Yet, little is known about the actors involved in wild meat markets, their entry to the informal market economy, or their motivations. Using the wild meat trade in two urban areas in Cameroon as case studies, we address why people choose to sell wild meat as an alternative to selling legal commodities and investigate whether urban wild meat traders rely upon particular ethno-linguistic or other ties to generate a network of buyers. We collected qualitative data through interviews in ten wild meat markets in Yaoundé and Abong Mbang and conducted long-term participant observations in markets and along urban trading routes in Yaoundé. Our data also include quantitative sales and profit data in the primary market of Yaoundé. We found that women comprised 74% of wild meat market vendors (45 of 54) in all the markets we studied. The majority of traders (85%), meat cleaners (89%), and vendors (95%) within the primary market originated from forest-based southern Cameroonian ethnic groups. Livelihood benefits, ethnic ties, and poor formal economic options drove the choice to pursue this particular trade. Our study highlights the role that improved access to employment and education for women and girls could play in reducing the drive to join the urban wild meat trade. This study also highlights the need to engage the expertise of wild meat market actors, and traders, in particular, in testing and revising wild meat management practices and policies.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.106060
Uncontrolled keywords: Conservation, Wildlife, Bushmeat, Women, Informal economy, Equity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Fulbright Commission (
National Science Foundation (
Depositing User: Daniel Ingram
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2023 12:49 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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