Clandestine Bushmeat Trade in Cross River State, Nigeria: Implications on Herp Diversity and the Environment

  • EA Eniang
  • HM Ijeomah
Keywords: Bushmeat trade, Herps diversity, Wildlife utilization, Conservation laws

Abstract

This paper surveyed the herp species traded in secret bush meat markets of Cross River State, with the view of assessing their conservation status and uses they are put to. The study mainly focused on six selected communities in Akamkpa Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross Rivers State, Nigeria – the host LGA of Oban section of the Cross River National Park. Data for the study were collected through Reconnaissance survey, Observation, and In - depth interviews. Through reconnaissance survey and personal interaction with local people who have good knowledge of Cross River State, secret bushmeat markets were identified and visited for familiarity. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics in form of frequency of counts and tables. Results showed that about nine herp species of international ecological concern in Cross River State as listed by CITES in either appendix I or II were secretly but continuously sold in Akamkpa LGA and neighbouring communities. Different categories of people including native doctors buy these species for both consumptive and non consumptive purposes. Among the traded endangered species in the study area were Bufo supereilliaris, Varanus niloticus, Kinixys erosa, Kinixys homeana, Python sebae, Calabaria reinhardtii, Crocodylus niloticus, Crocodylus cataphractus and Osteolaemus tetraspis. The fact that both Bitis gabonica and Python sabae were found in all the surveyed bushmeat markets in relatively high respective numbers of 31 and 22 is an indication that the species would soon go on local extinction if conservation laws are not effectively enforced. These also show that other endangered none herp species are being secretly traded on in the study area.
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eISSN: 0794-1005