Ph.D. student / Field Research Manager, University of Minnesota / Savannas Forever
Location: Serengeti, Tanzania
Research: Bushmeat Hunting in the Serengeti Ecosystem: Nutritional and Socio-economic Drivers
Species/Topic: Bushmeat hunting alternatives
Abstract: Illegal bushmeat hunting around Serengeti National Park severely impacts wildlife throughout the ecosystem. Demand for bushmeat is attributed primarily to a lack of alternative sources of protein and income. Therefore, strategically targeted small-scale livestock development programs might help reduce bushmeat hunting. This study explores one such initiative - a program to improve the health and production of local chickens by vaccinating against a highly pathogenic poultry virus. I will examine the driving forces behind bushmeat consumption, and the potential link between subsistence poultry production and bushmeat hunting. Data will be collected year-round on consumption of protein, including bushmeat, to determine the impact of the vaccination program and the extent to which communities rely on bushmeat in their diet. The primary goals are: 1) determine the viability of poultry as an alternative to bushmeat 2) determine whether improving reliability of poultry production by vaccinating against Newcastle disease will help reduce bushmeat hunting.