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Determining urban wild meat consumption and trade in Central Amazonia

El Bizri, HR and Morcatty, TQ and Valsecchi, J and Mayor, P and Ribeiro, JES and Ferreira, UC and Miranda, CFS and Silva, CH and Lopes, VL and Lopes, GP and Florindo, CCF and Chagas, RC and Vasconcelos Neto, CFA and Nijman, V and Fa, John (2019) Determining urban wild meat consumption and trade in Central Amazonia. Conservation Biology. ISSN 0888-8892 (In Press)

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There is increasing evidence that the switch from hunting wild meat for home consumption to supplying more lucrative city markets in Amazonia can adversely affect some game species. Despite this, information on the amounts of wild meat consumed in Amazonian cities is still lacking. In this article, we use data gathered in 1,046 household interviews in five Central Amazonian cities to estimate wild meat consumption rates and assess the influence of biological, social and economic factors. We then model the total volume of wild meat likely to be consumed and its distribution throughout the study region. We found that a total of 80.3% of all interviewees consumed wild meat during an average of 29.3 ± 11.6 days per year. Most wild meat was bought in local markets (80.1%) or was hunted by a family member (14.9%). Twenty-one taxa were consumed, mostly mammals (71.6%), followed by reptiles (23.2%) and then birds (5.2%). Species’ body mass was non-linearly related to its price per kg. Wild meat consumption was positively correlated with the proportion of rural population as well as with the per-capita gross domestic product of the municipality. We estimated that as much as 10,691 tons of wild meat is consumed annually in the 62 urban centers within central Amazonia, the equivalent of 6.49 kg/person/y. In monetary terms, this amounts to 21.58 USD/person/y or 35.1 million USD overall, the latter figure comparable to mineral and timber production in the region. Given the magnitude of the wild meat trade in Central Amazonia, it is fundamental to integrate this activity into the formal economy, and actively develop policies that allow the trade of more resilient taxa whilst restricting that of those more sensitive to hunting.

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