Interactive impacts of by-catch take and elite consumption of illegal wildlife

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Stirnemann, RL
Stirnemann, IA
Abbot, D
Biggs, D
Heinsohn, R
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2018
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Abstract

Harvesting, consumption and trade of forest meat are key causes of biodiversity loss. Successful mitigation programs are proving difficult to design, in part because anthropogenic pressures are treated as internationally uniform. Despite illegal hunting being a key conservation issue in the Pacific Islands, there is a paucity of research. Here, we examine the dynamics of hunting of birds and determine how these contribute to biodiversity loss on the islands of Samoa. We focus on the interactive effects of hunting on two key seed dispersing bird species: the Pacific pigeon (Ducula pacifica) and the critically endangered Manumea or tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigiristris). We interviewed hunters, vendors and consumers and analyzed household consumption. Results suggest that over 22,000 pigeons were consumed per year and this is by primarily the richest people across the country. Indeed, the wealthiest 10% of households consumed 43% of all wild pigeon meat, and the wealthiest 40% of households consumed 80% of all pigeons. The Manumea was shot by 33% (n = 30) of the surveyed hunters while pursuing the Pacific pigeon. Results raise serious conservation concerns, as pigeon hunting is likely to be a key factor contributing to the decline of the Manumea and critical forest seed dispersers in general. Our results show that wild meat consumption can lead to non-targeted pressure on bycatch species. Wild meat harvesting and consumption is a key issue leading to species declines and extinctions in the tropics. It is critical that this issue receives the appropriate attention and is addressed in the Pacific if species and forests are to be maintained.

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BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION
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© 2018 Springer. This is an electronic version of an article published in Biodiversity and Conservation Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 931–946. Biodiversity and Conservation is available online at: http://link.springer.com/ with the open URL of your article.
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Environmental management
Ecology
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