I went on a bushmeat hunt in the Central African Republic – here’s why

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  • The Telegraph published this video item, entitled “I went on a bushmeat hunt in the Central African Republic – here’s why” – below is their description.

    The hunters collected their shotguns and set off at dawn. Casting long shadows across the red earth, Theodore Goli and Roger Gougou left their village with just four precious pieces of ammunition between them. Each shot would have to count.

    It was the start of the rainy season in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the wiry, impassive pair trekked through dense undergrowth at pace. Wearing flip-flops and torn shorts, they followed a forest path beneath the sunlit canopy, guns slung over their shoulders.

    After an hour, Mr Goli stopped. His eyes widened as he scanned the top of a tree. A white-thighed hornbill roosted high above, almost invisible.

    He placed the bird into his sights and fired.

    Innumerable hunts like this take place daily across the continent, whether in equatorial rainforest or open veld to the south. Bushmeat provides a key source of protein; hunting and selling it underpins livelihoods.

    But fuelled by soaring demand, its commercial trade is decimating the biodiversity of wildlife and increasing our contact with zoonotic viruses, such as Covid-19, which originate in animals.

    Converting wild places into farmland, industry or settlements creates the prime conditions for new viruses to thrive and jump into human hosts, research has shown.

    This is because destroying habitats reduces biodiversity, eliminating larger species first and enabling the most virulent ones such as bats and rats to multiply, free from predators.

    These smaller species are reservoirs of contagious diseases that can lead to pandemics.

    But these two hunters in the Congo Basin region were part of a groundbreaking initiative that granted their village control of 37,000 acres of forest, enabling them to protect the land from the most destructive hunting and farming practices that increase the risk of zoonotic infection.

    If replicated worldwide, such systems of local control could help counter another catastrophic spillover event.

    Read Jack Losh’s article in full here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2021/02/01/bushmeat-hunting-central-africa-giving-forests-back-communities/

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    In This Story: Central African Republic

    The Central African Republic, or Centrafrique, is a landlocked country in Central Africa.

    It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi) and had an estimated population of around 4.7 million as of 2018.

    As of 2020, the CAR is the scene of a civil war, ongoing since 2012.

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