Unsustainable and illegal hunting is reducing populations of wildlife at alarming rates. This is particularly a problem in Africa and Asia, and is a growing concern in the Amazon region.
Removing wildlife from the wild reduces biodiversity and causes harmful changes in ecosystems- disrupting food webs, altering community interactions among plants and animals, and potentially changing the vegetative structure of forests.
18% of forests in the world are ‘protected’. Conservationists believe this to be a great success. Unfortunately, just because something is labeled as being protected doesn’t mean that it actually is.
Even though forests are labeled as being protected, illegal hunting takes place and there is not enough support or enforcement to make sure that wildlife is safe from poachers.
So much wildlife is being hunted at such a rapid rate that some forests are devoid of animals. In other words, the trees are there, but the animals aren’t.
Rural communities depend on bushmeat as a source of protein because they do not have access to domesticated sources of meat. The hunting problem is compounded because in addition to hunting the meat for consumption, they also sell the meat to earn an income.
Forest conservation faces many problems, mostly due to a lack of funding and support. These problems include: limited political support, poor infrastructure, overstretched education systems, inefficient legal systems, and corruption.
It is difficult to discourage local people from hunting because they feel it is their right to do so. In many communities, hunting is traditional, having been practiced for generations.
Conservationists are going to have to come up with creative solutions to combat these problems.
A cuscus being sold as meat in an Indonesian market
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