A regional approach to address the bushmeat problem in Eastern Africa

What we do



 Law Enforcement



Capcity Building

Addressing Bushmeat

Alternatives for both protein and income are essential to change current trends in illegal, over-hunting of wildlife. Improved policy, legislation and regulation of legal wildlife use is necessary if future generations of citizens in Africa will be able to have wildlife as part of their heritage to pass on to future generations. Individuals and institutions must become aware of the importance of this illegal, unsustainable trade and how it will impact future economics and ecology of their livelihoods. Partnerships that bring together government authority, private industry, non-profit organization and local community ingenuity and effort can assure the future of wildlife populations in Africa and the many services they provide. A change in both awareness and responsibility must be developed among all sectors of society to address this important conservation and cultural challenge.

As an interdisciplinary network, BEAN has spent its first two years focusing on building a foundation for the network and pushing forward from identifying needs around the region into targeted action. This foundation is built from a model that was developed by BEAN Founding Members during the USFWS MENTOR Fellowship Program. This model examined the drivers of bushmeat hunting in Eastern Africa, and then links those to the actions which need to be taken to address these drivers. Because bushmeat is a multidisciplinary problem, a wide variety of stakeholders are needed to come together and address the difficult solutions.

As there are many conservation actors out there already working on conservation issues, BEAN’s focus on bushmeat centers on four core areas: Awareness/Outreach, Law Enforcement, Capacity Building, and Alternatives to Hunting. Below are some of BEAN’s achievements in these areas over the past two years. For more details on the core areas, click on the links above.

Bushmeat alternatives

  •  Bushmeat serves as both a source of income and a source of food to communities around protected areas. To address the bushmeat crisis with these stakeholders, initiatives must engage in helping them to replace reliance on wildlife.
  •  Alternative protein projects require dedicated, long-term commitments from communities, local leadership, protected area staff, government extension agents, and project implementers
  •  Addressing livelihood challenges needs multi-disciplinary cooperation between government agencies, local leaders, and development and conservation organizations to develop locally-specific, climate resilient approaches to strengthen economic security around protected areas
  • Alternative projects with BEAN affiliates initiated include increasing production and improving preservation of fish; promoting good health in chicken and other domestic animals; and supplying community groups with starting goat populations.

Law enforcement

  •  Regional conservation authorities identified weaknesses in the law enforcement system, from poacher arrest to sentencing,
    demonstrating the need for a broad approach.
  • Equipment procurement through BEAN grants to law enforcement agencies will increase the tools available to address commercial
    trade in bushmeat. More capacity building and facilitation of logistics and equipment is needed.
  • Increasing communication between law enforcement departments can facilitate collaboration between police, army, and wildlife
    officials, breaking down barriers of competition to address threats.
  • Transboundary workshops in the Serengeti-Maasai Mara region strengthens ties between agencies but demonstrates challenges 
    remain to overcome barriers between countries.
  • Targeting judicial systems by teaching judges and prosecutors the serious impacts wildlife poaching has on nations increases the
    chances that poachers caught will serve time or pay fines .

Capacity building

  •  Strengthening the law enforcement capacity across the region is key in strengthening governments’ abilities to work from deterring
    poachers to the prosecution of criminals.
  • Curricula development in wildlife colleges across the region increase awareness and critical thinking of the complex problem, leading
     to interdisciplinary approaches .
  • Linking stakeholders together, such as South Sudan wildlife officials to counterparts in East Africa, has benefitted bushmeat-related
  • Website development facilitates information sharing and stakeholders communications.

Awareness efforts

  • Radio shows generating knowledge across countries
  • Symposiums for sharing bushmeat information within the wildlife sector
  • Training teachers and providing tools for outreach
  • Engaging the tourism sector through meetings
  • Grassroots work with village chiefs
  • Awareness campaigns with the army

BEAN Founding Members in the Field

                  Men with bushmeat  

 Evanson K. with huge snares set for giraffes

  Genisis O. with former poacher- drummers

     Isaac S. with a bushmeat confiscation     

                    Damalu L. interviewing

       Ranger equipment in South Sudan

Click here for a link to reports and more information from BEAN and the bushmeat community