Bushmeat trade and wildlife conservation in Makurdi Metropolis, Benue State–Nigeria
This study was conducted to identify sources of bushmeat supply to Makurdi metropolis,wild animal species sold as bushmeat in Makurdi Markets and their conservation status and income from the sales of bushmeat Reconnaissance survey was carried out to identify major markets where bushmeat are sold and purposively selected. Data were collected through structured questionnaires, direct observation and personal interviews within selected target groups in the markets. 100 questionnaires were administered to bushmeat traders across six markets namely; High level, Modern market, North Bank, Wadata and Wurukum, Fidii. Data was analysed using Descriptive statistics such as tables, percentages, charts and figures to present data obtained from the study. A total of 1452 dry carcasses of 14 bushmeat species were encountered in the markets during the study period. Giant rat (Cricetomys gambianus) had the highest rate with 14.74% while the least is red duiker with 3.3%. Among the council wards surveyed Wurukum, has the highest numbers of bushmeat sellers (42%) while the least was Fiidi (5%).The conservation status of all the bushmeat encountered were least concern. The study also shows that there is high income from the sales of bushmeat Based on the findings it is recommended that there is need for wildlife conservation education to bushmeat sellers, provision of alternative livelihood and protein source, wildlife domestication should be encourage by bushmeat sellers to meet market demand, reviewing and enforcing the law, routine inspection of bushmeat stalls in the market. There is also need to also carry out research on bushmeat trade in other local government areas of the state.
Keywords: Bushmeat Trade, wildlife conservation, Consumption, Conservation status