Provisioning of game meat to rural communities as a benefit of sport hunting in Zambia.
White, Paula A.
Belant, Jerrold L.
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Sport hunting has reportedly multiple benefits to economies and local communities; however, few of these benefits have been quantified. As part of their lease agreements with the Zambia Wildlife Authority, sport hunting operators in Zambia are required to provide annually to local communities free of charge i.e., provision a percentage of the meat obtained through sport hunting. We characterized provisioning of game meat to rural communities by the sport hunting industry in Zambia for three game management areas (GMAs) during 2004-2011. Rural communities located within GMAs where sport hunting occurred received on average > 6,000 kgs per GMA of fresh game meat annually from hunting operators. To assess hunting industry compliance, we also compared the amount of meat expected as per the lease agreements versus observed amounts of meat provisioned from three GMAs during 2007-2009. In seven of eight annual comparisons of these GMAs, provisioning of meat exceeded what was required in the lease agreements. Provisioning occurred throughout the hunting season and peaked during the end of the dry season (September-October) coincident with when rural Zambians are most likely to encounter food shortages. We extrapolated our results across all GMAs and estimated 129,771 kgs of fresh game meat provisioned annually by the sport hunting industry to rural communities in Zambia at an approximate value for the meat alone of >US$600,000 exclusive of distribution costs. During the hunting moratorium (2013-2014), this supply of meat has halted, likely adversely affecting rural communities previously reliant on this food source. Proposed alternatives to sport hunting should consider protein provisioning in addition to other benefits (e.g., employment, community pledges, anti-poaching funds) that rural Zambian communities receive from the sport hunting industry.