alexa Subsistence Hunting in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya, and Its Effects on Mammal Populations
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species

Author(s): Clare D Fitzgibbon, Hezron Mogaka

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Mammal populations in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya, provide an important source of protein and income for local communities. The harvested biomass in 1991 was over 350 kg/km2, and the economic value of the harvest was over 1.3 million KShs (approximately US$35,000). Bushpigs, aardvarks, and primates comprise 95% of the harvested biomass, but the main prey in terms of number of animals killed (35% of total) was the four-toed elephant shrew (Petrodomus tetradactylus). Trapping is concentrated on the periphery of the forest and reduces densities of four-toed elephant shrews within 1–2 km of the forest edge by 41%, squirrels by 66%, and Syke's monkeys by 55%. Yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus), Syke's monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis), and the larger ungulates are also hunted with dogs throughout the forest. The results of our study suggest that yellow baboons and Syke's monkeys are overharvested, and current offtake rates of elephant shrews, squirrels, and duikers (Cephalophus spp.) are sustainable. Overharvesting has reduced the densities of large ungulates, including bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer), to low levels. Differences in reproductive rates, abundance, population, dispersion, ease of capture, and relative vulnerability to hunting, as compared to trapping, influence the extent to which different prey species are affected by harvesting.

This article was published in Conservation biology and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species

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