Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Agouti on the wedding menu: Bushmeat harvest, consumption and trade in a post-frontier region of the Ecuadorian Amazon

Ian Cummins
Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez
Alexander Barnard
Robert Nasi
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 36
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Over the last three decades, the Ecuadorian Amazon has undergone large-scale socio-economic, demographic and biophysical transformations that have greatly shaped local patterns of land and resource use with major repercussions on local livelihoods, environments and biodiversity. This paper aims to characterize transitions in patterns of bushmeat harvesting, marketing and consumption brought about by these changes, with an emphasis on the impact of road building, the movement of isolated communities and the connectivity of forests to urban centers. We use the literature and field data collected in the provinces of Napo and Pastaza to explore (a) whether current levels of bushmeat...

  2. (pp. 3-8)

    The bushmeat harvest, consumption and trade in Ecuador, and more generally throughout the tropics, is often framed as a conservation issue, a context in which it is generally condemned as a threat to biodiversity (Redford 1992; Franzen 2006; Suárez et al. 2009). In Ecuador, as in most tropical countries, the predominant view of experts and policy makers is that hunting, consumption and trade necessarily lead to the decline or extinction of local populations of game species (Bass et al. 2010; Zapata-Ríos et al. 2011) and therefore should be banned or otherwise discouraged. More recently, some experts have shown the critical...

  3. (pp. 9-13)

    Information collected from published and unpublished documents were validated with data gathered from field observations and surveys in the Upper Napo region, which encompasses the cantons of Archidona, Juan Carlos Arosemena Tola and Tena in Napo province and adjacent areas of Arajuno canton in Pastaza province. The area, which covers approximately 8,100 km², is located at the convergence of the Andean foothills and the Amazonian basin. As part of the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot, the Upper Napo region is known for its extraordinary biodiversity due to the transition between Andean and Amazonian environments. Rainfall is consistently high (3,500 mm) throughout...

  4. (pp. 14-14)

    Bushmeat surveys were conducted within 33 rural Kichwa and 1 Waorani community in Napo and nearby Pastaza provinces. In addition to collecting information on hunters, hunting, game species and quantity of bushmeat consumed and sold by families, we had included survey questions related to household income, participation in wage labor, agricultural production, household nutrition, demography and the dynamic of urban-rural migration. A total of 150 surveys were applied in Spanish and Kichwa, with older interviewees generally preferring to conduct the surveys in Kichwa. More detailed questionnaires were administered to the self-identified hunters, with questions related to the frequency and location...

  5. (pp. 15-21)

    Although Ecuadorian law makes a clear distinction between subsistence hunting (which is legal) and commercial hunting (which is not), the reality is somewhat more ambiguous. Based on published information and field surveys and interviews, subsistence hunters supply the bushmeat that is traded in urban markets. Most subsistence hunters are from low-income rural and urban families and hunting is one of their many activities. Increasingly, subsistence hunters are selling rather than consuming game meat that they harvest from forests, fallows and house gardens. The sales of bushmeat are illegal, but local authorities have shown little inclination to enforce hunting regulations within...

  6. (pp. 22-22)

    The Upper Napo, like much of Amazonia, is rapidly undergoing the transition between what was once essentially a subsistence economy to one increasingly integrated into the wider economy. The post-frontier landscape described in this report is essentially defined by consolidation. The consolidation of human populations into urban agglomerations and into increasingly concentrated rural communities has strong implications for the management and exploitation of natural resources, including bushmeat. Napo province has the highest population density and road infrastructure of any province of the Ecuadorian Amazon. These population densities have altered the landscape in some of the more accessible areas to a...

  7. (pp. 23-23)

    To maintain biodiversity while assuring the continued access of rural populations to bushmeat, the following policy recommendations are made:

    Governmental and non-governmental conservation organizations should provide increased funding and emphasize participatory co-management of forests and wildlife within forest mosaic/agricultural landscapes, particularly on common pool resources among smallholders. Bushmeat is one of the natural resources that provide food security and sovereignty for vulnerable rural and urban populations.

    The Ecuadorian government’s Socio Bosque program should prioritize forest areas that provide dispersal corridors to intact forest landscapes

    The MAE should create participatory recovery plans for species that are absent or very rare, specifically...