Linkages between household wealth, bushmeat and other animal protein consumption are not invariant: Evidence from Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea
Fa JE., Albrechtsen L., Johnson PJ., Macdonald DW.
Bushmeat consumption is affected by household wealth. However, how household wealth impacts bushmeat eaten in different environmental and social settings (i.e. whether urban, rural, coastal or forest) is poorly understood. In this study, we sampled households in six contrasting localities in Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea, in coastal (Bata, Cogo), central (Niefang, Evinayong) and eastern parts of the territory (Ebebiyin, Nsork). On average, 32.3 g of bushmeat per adult male equivalent per day were consumed, though this varied widely between sites and most households ate no bushmeat on the survey day. Fish was the most frequently recorded source of protein and in a coastal site, Cogo, significantly more fish was consumed than in the other localities. Overall, average protein consumption was correlated with household wealth, but the strength of this effect varied among sites. At the site where average wealth was highest (Bata, the most urban site), bushmeat was more expensive, and wealthier households ate more of it. Elsewhere bushmeat consumption was not associated with wealth, and the cost of bushmeat was a higher proportion of household wealth. In Bata, wealthier households reported consumption of more than one meat type (most frequently bushmeat and either domestic meat or fish), and diversity of dietary items also increased with wealth. In all sites, wealthier households ate less fish. We demonstrate distinct differences in relationships between urban versus rural areas, and between coastal versus inland sites. We therefore caution that general patterns of wealth-wild meat consumption must be evaluated taking account the circumstances of wild meat consumers. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 The Zoological Society of London.