Bushmeat in Equatorial Guinea

Bushmeat in Equatorial Guinea

Three red-eared monkeys and one golden-bellied crowned monkey for sale at the Malabo bushmeat market.
Bushmeat hunting is decimating the wildlife of Equatorial Guinea, and especially of Bioko Island. Bioko is home to Equatorial Guinea's capital city of Malabo, where demand for bushmeat soars. Malabo has been growing exponentially since oil was discovered offshore triggering an influx of immigrants in search of work. Many immigrants of rural descent were accustomed to consuming bushmeat on a subsistence basis in their home towns. Now, enough of Malabo's increasingly large and wealthy population is prepared to pay top dollar for bushmeat, rather that cheaper alternatives such as fish or chicken, encouraging bushmeat hunting on a commercial scale that is far from sustainable. In some rural parts of continental Equatorial Guinea, bushmeat is still consumed on a subsistence basis, but city demand and improving transportation is making it increasingly profitable for hunters to hunt as much as they can for money instead of just enough to eat.
In rural Bioko Island, it usually makes more sense to sell bushmeat to buyers in Malabo rather than to consume it locally. Special occasions can be the exception.
In some rural parts of mainland Equatorial Guinea, bushmeat is still caught with traps and consumed on a subsistence basis. The equation is changing rapidly, though, as rising city demand, improving roads, easier access to firearms, and a lack of alternative livelihoods is making it increasingly profitable for hunters to spend more time and effort hunting as much as they can, jeopardizing sustainable wildlife populations.