Factors determining the choice of hunting and trading bushmeat in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania

Regulation of illegal bushmeat trade is a major conservation challenge in Africa. We investigated what factors are most likely to induce actors in the bushmeat trade to shift to an alternative occupation by conducting a choice experiment with 325 actors in the bushmeat trade in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. Specifically, we asked respondents to choose between hunting or trading bushmeat and alternative salarypaying work, in a set of hypothetical scenarios where the attributes of these alternatives were varied and included measures of command and control, price of substitute meat, daily salary in the work option, and whether or not cows were donated to the respondent. We modeled the choice contingent on socioeconomic characteristics. The magnitude of fines and patrolling frequency had a significant but very low negative effect on the probability of choosing to engage in hunting or trading bushmeat compared with the salary of an alternative occupation. Donation of livestock and the price of substitute meats in the localmarket both affected the choice significantly in a negative and a positive direction, respectively. The wealthier a household was the more likely the respondent was to choose to continue hunting or trading bushmeat. On the margin, our results suggest that given current conditions in the Kilombero Valley on any given day 90% of the respondents would choose salary work at US$3.37/day over their activities in the bushmeat trade, all else equal.