Environmental Conservation

Papers

Quantity and significance of wild meat off-take by a rural community in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

SARAH A. KASCHULAa1 c1 and CHARLIE M. SHACKLETONa1

a1 Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, Eastern Cape, South Africa

SUMMARY

When compared to tropical forest zones in west and central Africa, off-take of wild meat from savannah and grassland biomes by local rural communities has not been well assessed. This case study of wild meat collection activities within a rural community in the Mount Frere region of the Eastern Cape (South Africa) uses last-catch records derived from 50 wild meat gatherers to calculate average off-take of taxa, species and fresh mass of wild meat per collection event. When per-event off take is overlaid onto household hunting frequency data, annual off-take would be 268.6 kg km−2 yr−1 or 3 kg person−1 yr−1 presuming constant off-take over an annual period. Monetary value of off-take would be South African R 307 (US$ 39) per household annually. For some species, off-take weight per km2 shows similar values to data from tropical forest zones, but high human population densities tend to dilute off-takes to less nutritionally significant amounts at the per person scale. However, unlike many tropical zones, none of the species harvested can be considered high-priority conservation species. Even densely populated and heavily harvested communal lands appear to offer high wild meat off-takes from low conservation priority species.

(Received May 24 2009)

(Accepted October 08 2009)

(Online publication December 14 2009)

Correspondence

c1 Correspondence: Dr Sarah Kaschula tel: +1347 768 9188 e-mail: sk3306@columbia.edu