A hunting survey was conducted in the Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary and support zones to estimate bushmeat off-take as a means to understand the current conservation status of protected species in that important area of biodiversity in Cameroon. A total of 756 protected animal carcasses with a total biomass of 6,815 kg, in six taxonomic groups constituted 24% of the total off-take of animals killed or captured by two adjacent ethnic groups of Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary. Hunters caught more than 30 individuals of each of the red eared monkey (Cercopithecus erythrotis camerunensis), squirrel sp. (Protexerus stangeri, Funisciurus pyrropus), brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus), Water chevrotain (Hyemoschus aquaticus) African dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis), red river hog (Potamoschus porcus) and bay duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis) which together accounted for 75% of all protected species captures and 89% of the biomass. There was significant variation in the number of protected species exploited with the most captured taxonomic group, the rodents, comprising 37% of the kills or captures and 13% of the total biomass. The ungulates followed with 28% of the captures and 68% of total biomass. Proportionately, the much larger-bodied ungulates contributed more to biomass off-take than the comparatively smaller primates, reptiles and rodents. Carnivores and birds were least harvested taxonomic groups of protected species accounting for 9 and 4% of total protected species off-take respectively. Final results indicate that threatened animals do not have enough protection within BMWS and the conservation value of the sanctuary is highly compromised.
Key words: Threatened species, off-take, conservation status, Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameroon.
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