Category Archives: Bushmeat in Africa

Bushmeat education workshop begins in Tsavo

Tomorrow Wednesday 27th 2010, I and a team of highly experienced facilitators from Kenya and the USA will be conducting an educators’ training workshop in Tsavo West National Park.  The workshop which is funded by the USFWS Wildlife Without Borders Africa Program aims at training a selected group of environmental educators working in the western part of the Tsavo ecosystem. The officers are coming from Tsavo West National Park, Chyulu National Park, Taveta ex-poacher project and a Wildlife Clubs patron.

However, the demand for bushmeat education in the region, which is notorious for bushmeat poaching was far much higher than we could meet and we have received requests from Education Officers working in the area for inclusion in the training! And to prove how serious they are, the Officers accepted to participate in the training without getting any financial support from our side.

This workshop is the first of its kind to specifically focus on building the capacity of educators in bushmeat education. By training and equipping the educators on the ground with materials on bushmeat education we are hoping that the knowledge, skills and materials that we have will be used in Tsavo ecosystem for a long time rather than going to the ground ourselves to implement a one off education project that may not be sustainable.

The specific objectives of training these officers are;

1.      To increase their knowledge on the bushmeat crisis

2.      To build their skills on bushmeat education

3.      To provide them with relevant education materials for their education work.

4.      To enhance linkages and collaboration in education in the region

5.      To develop new bushmeat education materials

6.      To build local and international partnership in education

Some of the education materials we are using in this training have been donated by Africa Environmental Film Foundation, Born free Foundation, INCEF, Project WILD and RARE. KWS Tsavo West National Park is providing the training facility and logistical support for the training and outreach. We are also getting technical support from AFEW Giraffe Center, Amara Conservation and ANAW. Big thanks to Melinda, Heather and Natalie for their technical support form the USA.

Experts: Bushmeat a Major Issue in Eastern Africa

 BEAN Press Release: Experts Agree Bushmeat a Major Issue in Eastern Africa

On 7th & 8th December 2009, 34 experts representing 22 different conservation organizations, development organizations and government agencies from Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, and Uganda assembled in Kampala, Uganda to discuss bushmeat (the illegal and unsustainable hunting of wildlife for meat and income). The participants shared information on challenges, ongoing solutions and future needs to address the bushmeat problem in Eastern Africa.

Despite the best efforts of governments, NGOs, the private sector and local communities to address threats to wildlife and their habitats, these threats continue and in some cases increase. These experts agreed that bushmeat is one of the leading threats to wildlife and livelihoods and must be addressed using every means possible.

Click the link below to read the press release;

BEAN PRESS RELEASE 2009-12-09

DNA Barcoding of bushmeat workshop begins at San Diego Zoo

I am here in San Diego attending a two weeks DNA barcoding of bushmeat workshop that is being conducted by Dr. Sarah Burgess-Herbert of the San Diego Zoo Center for Conservation Research. Those attending the workshop are drawn from Kenya (myself), Cameroun and Uganda.

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Monitoring illegal bushmeat commerce and enforcing wildlife regulations have proven difficult, because it is often impossible to determine the species of origin of many animal products such as processed filets, hides, and bone. The identification of these products is essential in attempts to evaluate, demonstrate, and litigate illegal bushmeat commerce. This is why the application of an emerging technology known as “DNA barcoding” to the bushmeat crisis is vital.

DNA barcoding provides a method for identifying species from unrecognizable samples of blood, bone, meat, hair, feathers, or feces. This universally applicable specimen identification method will enhance the assessment and enforcement capacity of the relevant national and international laws and regulations, and will thereby contribute to the protection of exploited species.

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This project aims to continue our capacity building and training efforts focused on DNA barcoding for species conservation by holding an intensive hands-on training workshop for African conservation professionals working in Cameroon, Nigeria, and Uganda.

The specific aims of this workshop are:
1) to teach, in a laboratory setting, basic molecular genetics techniques and concepts relevant to DNA barcoding;
2) to educate about how DNA barcoding could revolutionize our approach to the bushmeat crisis;
3) to demonstrate that unrecognizable smoked, dried and fresh meat samples can be amplified in a simple lab for sequencing elsewhere;
4) to establish collaborations with individuals and organizations fighting the bushmeat trade in Central Africa;
5) to promote the free use the San Diego Conservation Research genetics field lab in Limbe, Cameroon for DNA barcoding; and,
6) to encourage participants to pass on their knowledge.

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Iregi Mwenja


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Society of Conservation Biology (SCB) Science/Policy Conference in Ghana presents Africa’s finest

For the last two days, the finest scientists and upcoming young conservation scientists have been presenting their papers in the Society of Conservation Biology (SCB) Science/Policy Regional Conference taking place in University of Ghana Noguchi Hall. Speakers from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, DR Congo, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania have so far presented their papers.

I have been most excited by the fact that young conservation scientists seem to dominate not only the presentations but also contribution in the discussions. There is hope in the future of our continent as it is clear there is effort to build capacity of young conservation leaders in our continent. Gender balance is also evident with half the presentation coming from women.

The conference is also a great networking opportunity as most participants are friendly and social – the true African spirit as you can see below.

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The Bushmeat in eastern Africa symposium hosted by MENTOR Fellows was held on fridaay starting 11:30 am GMT.

Iregi Mwenja