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Environment/Natural Resources

[Published: Monday September 15 2008]

African hunting ban 'disastrous'

London , 16 Sept-(ANA)- A complete ban on hunting wild animals for their meat would be a disasterfor people living in Central Africa,researchers say.

The practiceneeds to be legalised, regulated and controlled, argues a report from theCentre for International Forestry Research.

Otherwise, somelarge wildlife species, such as elephants and gorillas, will be extinct within50 years, it says.

Bush meat is akey part of the diet for many in Central Africa.

In some areas itprovides 80% of the protein and fat consumed. But these nutritional benefitscome at a high price.

Researchersestimate that more than a million tonnes of bush meat is killed every year.

If largemammals are hunted to extinction, this will pose a serious threat to foodsecurity for millions of people, the report warns.

The report -Conservation and Use of Wildlife-Based Resources: The Bushmeat Crisis - saysthat many attempts to crack down on the hunting of bush meat are misguided anda blanket ban on sales of bush meat simply would not work.

The authorsargue that only by giving rights to local hunters to decide on what they wantto hunt will they be encouraged to adopt sustainable practices - such ashunting for fast reproducing species like rodents instead of larger mammals.

Consumption ofbush meat in Europe and elsewhere is oftenblamed for driving up demand but this report points out that the most of it isconsumed in local village areas. (ANA)

FA/ANA/16September 2008---

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