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Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin (West Africa): Capitalizing Species Involved, Provision Sources, and Implications for Conservation

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A common problem affecting many animal species is the soaring demand 10 for their body parts for use in medicinal products. In Benin, in spite of intense 11 commercial exploitation of wildlife for medicinal purposes, no official statistics on 12 the use of animals for medicinal and magic/religious purposes are available and 13 consequently, there is little consideration of the issue in laws, decision-making 14 processes, and conservation strategies. The aim of this study was to list the mammal 15 species sold on the medicinal market and the conservation implications of the use of 16 mammal species in traditional folk medicines. Among the 87 mammal species traded 17 on the traditional medicine market in Benin, 46 were sold by at least half of those 18 traders surveyed; the conservation status of these animals included rare, vulnerable, 19 and threatened species. Moreover, it was noticed that the source of animals is not 20 limited to Benin since some species available at markets are not listed in the Benin's 21 fauna. This study also found that rarer species were more costly and this constitutes 22 an economic motivation for sellers to develop strategies for the availability of 23 threatened species on their displays. Urgent conservation actions are needed to 24 reduce the pressure that this activity sector might contribute to biodiversity loss.
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1Chapter 17
2Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic
3and Mythic Purposes in Benin (West
4Africa): Capitalizing Species Involved,
5Provision Sources, and Implications
6for Conservation
7Chabi A. M. S. Djagoun, Hugues A. Akpona, Guy. A. Mensah,
8Clive Nuttman and Brice Sinsin
9Abstract A common problem affecting many animal species is the soaring demand
10 for their body parts for use in medicinal products. In Benin, in spite of intense
11 commercial exploitation of wildlife for medicinal purposes, no official statistics on
12 the use of animals for medicinal and magic/religious purposes are available and
13 consequently, there is little consideration of the issue in laws, decision-making
14 processes, and conservation strategies. The aim of this study was to list the mammal
15 species sold on the medicinal market and the conservation implications of the use of
16 mammal species in traditional folk medicines. Among the 87 mammal species traded
17 on the traditional medicine market in Benin, 46 were sold by at least half of those
18 traders surveyed; the conservation status of these animals included rare, vulnerable,
19 and threatened species. Moreover, it was noticed that the source of animals is not
20 limited to Benin since some species available at markets are not listed in the Benin’s
21 fauna. This study also found that rarer species were more costly and this constitutes
22 an economic motivation for sellers to develop strategies for the availability of
23 threatened species on their displays. Urgent conservation actions are needed to
24 reduce the pressure that this activity sector might contribute to biodiversity loss.
C. A. M. S. Djagoun (&)H. A. Akpona Guy. A. Mensah B. Sinsin
Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques,
Université d’Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
e-mail: sylvestrechabi@gmail.com
H. A. Akpona
Ministry of Environment and Protection of Nature,
Direction Générale des Forêts et des Ressources Naturelles,
BP 393 Cotonou, Benin
C. Nuttman
Department of Zoology, Tropical Biology Association,
Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK
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R. R. N. Alves and I. L. Rosa (eds.), Animals in Traditional Folk Medicine,
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-29026-8_17, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012
367
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25 Keywords Mammal Traditional medicine market Trade Conservation
26
27 17.1 Introduction
28 Most Africans believe that there are some magical powers which are attached to
29 special healing acts when wild animals’ by-products are used as directed by a
30 traditional healer (Adeola 1992; Adjakpa and Ogouvide 1998). Animals are
31 ‘therapeutic arsenals’ that have been playing significant roles in the healing pro-
32 cesses, magic rituals, and religious practices of peoples from the five continents;
33 human societies that have a developed medical system will utilize animals as
34 medicines (Costa-Neto and Marques 2000). The trade of animal-based medicine is
35 becoming much more common in the majority of markets, thus increased under-
36 standing of the use of animals’ body parts as folk medicines is relevant because
37 such use exerts additional pressure on wild populations (Lee 1999; Alves and
38 Pereira-Filho 2007; Alves et al. 2009).
39 In Benin, the exploitation of wildlife as zootherapeutic resources is one of the
40 economic diversification strategies developed by local populations. This exploi-
41 tation is underpinned by the reduced capacity of populations to access modern
42 medicine and to the socioeconomic and cultural importance of this activity. The
43 trade of animal-based medicine is found in the majority of Benin markets but little
44 is known about the markets of animal-based medicines. Similarly, knowledge is
45 limited about the impact of this activity on wildlife declines and the sustainable
46 use of zootherapeutic resources. This lack of attention to market traders is sur-
47 prising given their preponderance and economic importance. Since people have
48 been using animals for a long time, suppression of exploitation is unlikely to be a
49 viable strategy to stave off the threat of extinction for some species. As noted by
50 Kunin and Lawton (1996), those species directly involved in traditional medicines
51 should be among the highest priorities for conservation.
52 Some authors have investigated the medicinal importance of Benin wildlife
53 (Coubéou 1995; Adjakpa and Ogouvide 1998; Assogbadjo 2000; Akpona 2004;
54 Djagoun 2005). A study conducted by Adjakpa and Ogouvide (1998) highlighted
55 the diversity of birds used in animal-based medicine in Benin; however, there are
56 no data available on the other wildlife such as mammals, which represent the most
57 commonly exploited wildlife due to their importance for family income through
58 hunting, artisan handicrafts, eco-tourism, and game appeal.
59 Within that context, the present work focused on an inventory of mammal
60 species sold in the Benin traditional medicine market, evaluated the diversity,
61 abundance, source of provision, and socio-economical context of the use of these
62 animals for therapeutic purposes, and discusses the implications for sustainable
63 biodiversity conservation.
368 C. A. M. S. Djagoun et al.
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64 17.2 Methods and Survey Design
65 17.2.1 Study Area
66 The Republic of Benin is situated in West Africa between latitudes 6100N and
67 12250N and longitudes 0450E and 3550E, covering a land area of 112,622 km
2
.
68 It is bordered by the republics of Togo in the west, Nigeria in the east, Burkina
69 Faso and Niger in the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south (Fig. 17.1). The
70 population has been estimated at 6,752,569 inhabitants with an average density of
71 57 inhabitants per km
2
(INSAE-RGPH 2006). The mean annual rainfall varies
72 from 900 to 1,300 mm while the mean annual temperatures range from 26 to 28C
73 and may exceptionally reach 35–40C in northern localities. About 24% of the
74 land is covered by forest, while only 22.7% of the total land area is legally
75 protected (CENATEL 1992; FAO 2001); the vegetation in several of the protected
76 sites has almost entirely vanished and has even been invaded by human
77 settlements.
78 17.2.2 Data Collection
79 Benin has more than 40 cities in which we were aware of at least one important
80 market (and several sub-markets) that contained animal-based medicine activities.
81 Computing existing data All available references or reports on folk remedies
82 based on animal parts in Benin and West African countries were examined. Only
83 taxa that could be identified to species level were included in the database. The
84 conservation status of the animal species follows the IUCN Red List (http://
85 www.iucnredlist.org/); Benin’s official list of endangered species (Neuenshwander
86 et al. 2011) was also used.
87 Survey of animal-based medicine market Information on the use and
88 commercialization of animals for medicinal purposes was collected through a
89 semi-structured survey among selected animal-based medicine traders throughout
90 the country, using a questionnaire. We surveyed 22 markets throughout the
91 country with a total of 110 sellers (Table 17.1); 18 districts were selected for the
92 study, from a total of 77 districts in the country (Fig. 17.1). The choice of animal-
93 based medicine markets has a double advantage because the merchants concerned
94 combine their profession of traditional healers with the trade of animals. Visits
95 were also made to outdoor markets, temporary markets, and religious articles
96 stores where products derived from wildlife are commonly sold. Markets were
97 selected by taking into account their proximity to a protected area, their nature
98 (local, national or international), and the ethnic groups. The animals recorded were
99 identified by direct inspection or from photographs on the stand (Fig. 17.2) and
100 others parameters, such as richness and abundance, frequency, provision sources
101 were recorded through interviews with the sellers.
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 369
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Table 17.1 Number of
markets surveyed with the
number of interviewees per
zone
Zone Number of markets Sample size
South 10 60
Centre 7 30
North 5 20
Total 22 110
Fig. 17.1 Location of Benin and sampling districts
370 C. A. M. S. Djagoun et al.
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Fig. 17.2 Pictures taken in the traditional medicine markets surveyed: aOne of the displays of
the Bohicon fetish market; bThe head of a zebra (Equus zebra Linnaeus, 1758), a species not
present in Benin, found in a local market; cThe gorilla (Gorilla gorilla Savage and Wyman,
1847) hand found in the northern Benin market whereas the distribution of this species does not
extend to Benin
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 371
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102 17.3 Results and Discussion
103 17.3.1 Mammals Traded at the Animal-Based Medicine Market
104 in Benin
105 Excluding domestic animals, we identified 87 species of mammal traded on the
106 animal-based medicine markets in Benin, representing 13 mammal orders
107 (Table 17.2). From the total of 87 wild mammal species recorded, the species
108 from the Rodentia (28.7%) were the most common in the surveyed markets. This
109 was followed by the Carnivora (23.0%), Artiodactyla (13.8%), Primates (11.5%),
110 Chiroptera (10.3%) and Soricomorpha, Hyracoidea, and Pholidota (2.3% each).
111 The orders Lagomorpha, Perissodactyla, Proboscidea, Tubulidentata were all
112 represented by a single species. Given the known occurrence of individual
113 species within Benin, all members of the orders Tubulidentata, Hyracoidea,
114 Erinaceomorpha, and Pholidota were found on the traditional medicine market.
115 No species of the order Perissodactyla was expected to be found at the market,
116 as there are no representatives recorded in Benin. Nonetheless, we recorded one
117 zebra species, indicating that some species are imported from outside the country
118 by the traders. A list of all medicinal wild mammal species identified is given in
119 Appendix A.
Table 17.2 Number of
mammal species per order
recorded in Benin traditional
medicine market
Mammal order Number of
species observed
a
Number of
possible species
b
Carnivora 20 28
Chiroptera 9 50
Primates 10 12
Erinaceomorpha 1 1
Soricomorpha 2 8
Lagomorpha 1 2
Artiodactyla 12 17
Perissodactyla 1 0
Pholidota 2 2
Proboscidea 1 1
Rodentia 25 56
Tubulidentata 1 1
Hyracoidea 2 2
Sirenia 0 1
TOTAL 87 180
a
The number of species observed is the total number of species
found at the medicinal markets
b
The total possible species number refers to the number of
species per order existing in Benin, according to the literature
(Lamarque 2004; De Visser et al. 2001; Sinsin et al. 2008;
Neuenshwander et al. 2011)
372 C. A. M. S. Djagoun et al.
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120 17.3.2 The Common Mammal Species Traded on the Traditional
121 Medicine Market in Benin
122 Table 17.3 lists the common species traded at the traditional medicine market in
123 Benin. We defined the ‘common’ species as the species which were sold by more
124 than five traders interviewed during the traditional medicine markets survey.
125 Hence, the species sold by less than five traders from our total sample size (110
126 traders) were considered as ‘occasional’ and were not included in the list.
127 Overall, 46 mammal species were categorized as common; from these, 20
128 species were found to be sold by more that 50% of the traders interviewed. This
129 group included ungulates (Sylvicapra grimmia (Linnaeus, 1758); Syncerus caffer
130 (Sparrman, 1779); Ourebia ourebi (Zimmermann, 1783); Kobus kob (Erxleben,
131 1777); Cephalophus silvicultor (Afzelius, 1815)); rodents (Xerus erythropus
132 (Desmarest, 1817); Cricetomys gambianus Waterhouse, 1840; Cricetomys emini
133 Wroughton, 1910; Atherurus africanus Gray, 1842; Arvicanthis niloticus
134 (Desmarest, 1822); Thryonomys swinderianus (Temminck, 1827)) and primates
135 (Papio Anubis Lesson, 1827; Cercopithecus mona (Schreber, 1774); Chlorocebus
136 aethiops (Linnaeus, 1758)). Other notable species such as Equus zebra Linnaeus,
137 1758; Gorilla gorilla (Savage and Wyman, 1847); Lycaon pictus (Temminck,
138 1820); Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775); Orycteropus afer (Pallas, 1766) were
139 sold by less than 10% of the total traders interviewed. Generally, the abundance of
140 species sold in the traditional medicine market followed the same trend of species
141 abundance in their natural habitat; i.e., species listed as abundant in the traditional
142 medicine market were also commonly recorded in the literature as abundant in
143 their habitat (e.g., Mensah et al. 2006; Sinsin et al. 2008; Djagoun and Gaubert
144 2009). On the other hand, some species considered as highly threatened at national
145 or international level were found in abundance at the market [see: Atherurus
146 africanus Gray, 1842; Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach, 1797)]. Furthermore,
147 several of the less represented mammal species at the traditional medicine market
148 are also of conservation concern. In fact, most of the recorded species (4 out of 6)
149 are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
150 17.3.3 Economical Importance of Rare Versus Common
151 Traded Mammal Species
152 Figure 17.3 shows the relationship between the percentages of traders recorded
153 selling each mammal species (see Table 17.3) and the mean income generated by
154 selling the head of a given species. It should be noted that species such as
155 Hippopotamus amphibius Linnaeus, 1758 and Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach,
156 1797) were considered as outliers because the high mean income attributable to these
157 species was due to the large size of their heads. Also, exotic species such as Equus
158 zebra Linnaeus, 1758, Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775), and Gorilla gorilla
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 373
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Table 17.3 Percentage of traders (N=110) recorded selling mammal species in Benin tradi-
tional medicine market, with indication of the conservation status of the traded species
Scientific names Frequency of traders
selling the species (%)
IUCN Red
list
a
Benin Red
list
b
Alcelaphus buselaphus (Pallas, 1766) 30.9 LC VU
Acinonyx jubatus (Schreber, 1775) 8.2 VU EN
Atelerix albiventris (Wagner, 1841) 80.9 LC Not listed
Atherurus africanus Gray, 1842 69.1 NT NT
Atilax paludinosus paludinosus (G.[Baron]
Cuvier, 1829)
56.4 LC VU
Arvicanthis niloticus (Desmarest, 1822) 85.5 LC Not listed
Cephalophus silvicultor (Afzelius, 1815) 74.5 LC DD
Cercopithecus mona (Schreber, 1774) 67.3 LC VU
Chlorocebus aethiops (Linnaeus, 1758) 54.5 LC LC
Civettictis civetta (Schreber, 1776) 31.8 LC VU
Cricetomys gambianus Waterhouse, 1840 94.5 LC Not listed
Cricetomys emini Wroughton, 1910 72.7 LC Not listed
Crocuta crocuta (Erxleben, 1777) 17.3 LC NT
Crossarchus obscurus F. G. Cuvier, 1825 78.2 LC LC
Dendrohyrax arboreus (A. Smith, 1827) 23.6 DD EN
Equus zebra Linnaeus, 1758 3.6 VU Not listed
Erythrocebus patas (Schreber, 1775) 38.2 LC LC
Felis silvestris Schreber, 1777 20.9 LC VU
Genetta genetta (Linnaeus, 1758) 65.5 LC LC
Gorilla gorilla (Savage and Wyman, 1847) 10.0 EN Not listed
Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) 35.5 LC LC
Hippopotamus amphibius Linnaeus, 1758 35.5 VU VU
Hippotragus equinus (Desmarest, 1804) 37.3 LC VU
Kobus kob (Erxleben, 1777) 52.7 LC NT
Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach, 1797) 30.6 VU VU
Lutra maculicollis Lichtenstein, 1835 12.7 LC VU
Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820) 7.3 EN CR
Manis gigantea Illiger, 1815 14.5 VU CR
Manis tricuspis Rafinesque, 1821 26.4 LC VU
Orycteropus afer (Pallas, 1766) 4.5 LC EN
Ourebia ourebi (Zimmermann, 1783) 68.2 LC VU
Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775) 7.3 EN Not listed
Panthera leo (Linnaeus, 1758) 13.6 VU VU
Panthera pardus (Linnaeus, 1758) 11.8 NT VU
Papio Anubis Lesson, 1827 80.9 LC LC
Perodicticus potto (Müller, 1766) 44.5 LC LC
Phacochoerus aethiopicus (Pallas, 1766) 67.3 LC NT
Potamochoerus porcus (Linnaeus, 1758) 47.3 LC VU
Rousettus aegyptiacus (E. Geoffroy, 1810) 49.1 LC VU
Sylvicapra grimmia (Linnaeus, 1758) 99.1 LC LC
Syncerus caffer (Sparrman, 1779) 82.7 LC NT
Thryonomys swinderianus (Temminck, 1827) 77.3 LC LC
Tragelaphus scriptus (Pallas, 1766) 37.3 LC NT
(continued)
374 C. A. M. S. Djagoun et al.
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159 (Savage and Wyman, 1847) were excluded from the analysis. The relationship
160 between the percentage of traders recorded selling a mammal species and the mean
161 income generated in selling the head of the given species fitted well with a quadratic
162 model and was statistically significant (p =0.001) with the explained variance of
163 61.2%. From this model we concluded that the rare species traded at the traditional
164 medicine market attained higher economic value than the common species.
165 17.3.4 Source of Provision of Mammal Species Traded
166 at the Traditional Medicine Market in Benin
167 According to our survey, most of the animals sold at the Benin markets come from
168 National parks or Classified forest; we found that 68% of the mammal species sold
Table 17.3 (continued)
Scientific names Frequency of traders
selling the species (%)
IUCN Red
list
a
Benin Red
list
b
Tragelaphus spekii P. L. Sclater, 1863 25.5 LC EN
Vulpes pallida (Cretzschmar, 1826) 19.1 DD VU
Xerus erythropus (Desmarest, 1817) 91.8 LC Not listed
EN Endangered, VU Vulnerable, NT Near threatened, DD Data deficient, LC Least concern
a
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
b
See: Neuenshwander et al. (2011)
Fig. 17.3 Relationship between incomes generated and the percentage of the traders selling the
given species on the market
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 375
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169 in the traditional medicine markets were provided locally by the hunters, while
170 32% came from elsewhere. Some specimens were also imported by the traders, the
171 main source of provision being Nigeria (34.1%), followed by Burkina Faso
172 (15.9%), Ghana (13.6%), Niger (10.7%), Togo (7.9%), Gabon (5.6%), Ivory Coast
173 (4.7%), Mali (2.8%), and Congo (2.3%). A smaller percentage (0.5%) of speci-
174 mens came from Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, India, and Kenya (Fig. 17.4). Nigeria
175 was quoted by most respondents (65%) as the main country supplying the tradi-
176 tional medicine market in Benin, and this may be related to the geographic
177 proximity of the two countries. Some of the supplier countries are known to
178 harbour exotic species traded in Benin, such as Equus zebra Linnaeus, 1758
179 (Fig. 17.2b), Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775) and Gorilla gorilla (Savage and
180 Wyman, 1847) (Fig. 17.2).
181 17.3.5 Conservation Implications of Mammal Species Traded
182 in the Benin Traditional Medicine Market
183 The unsustainable use of medicinal animals has been highlighted as a potential
184 threat to many species populations (Lee et al. 1998). Although human activities
185 such as slash and burn agriculture, goat and cattle raising, and extensive subsis-
186 tence hunting are thought to be causing severe environmental impoverishment and
187 a loss of biodiversity in Benin (Djagoun and Gaubert 2009), the medicinal use of
188 animals creates an additional threat and must be considered in conjunction with
189 other anthropogenic pressures. In Benin, we found that the rarest species are more
190 costly than the commonest species, and this may be an important factor in declines
191 of wild populations of certain species. Additionally, the supply of the rarest
Fig. 17.4 The source of the animals provisioning the traditional medicine market according to
the traders
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192 mammal species is inferior to the existing demand. Thus, the high price of the rare
193 species and the continued demand for this species makes hunting pressure greater,
194 as traders will prefer to commercialize on their stand high value, rare species. The
195 economic value of zootherapy, as expressed by those who trade animal-based
196 medicines, should be taken into account whenever policies and environmental
197 measures are designed against the trade (Costa-Neo 2005). Instead of sending the
198 practitioners of the zootherapy to prisons, or creating policies aiming to force
199 traders to abandon such a practice, decision makers should attempt to contextualise
200 this form of human/nature connection within its cultural dimension.
201 Traditional medicine based on animals and their products is of high importance
202 to urban livelihood in Benin; in particular, the traditional medicine markets are
203 more developed in the southern Benin, the sparsely populated part of the country.
204 All the main cities in southern Benin have a traditional medicine market with up to
205 15 traders per market. Conversely, the local wildlife habitats are very patchily
206 distributed into small forested islands and have been continuously logged for
207 agricultural development, while sizable forest habitats can now only be found in
208 northern Benin, where few of the traditional medicine markets exist, with an
209 estimated number of three traders per market. Nonetheless, the paucity of the
210 traditional medicine market and the higher number of remaining natural areas in
211 northern Benin do not guarantee wildlife conservation in that area because the
212 majority of the large mammals traded in the southern markets are collected in the
213 north.
214 The dilemma facing all fauna species is the soaring demand for their body parts
215 for use in medicinal products (Soewu 2008). From a biological perspective, there
216 is a need to increase our understanding of the biology and ecology of species
217 commonly used as remedies to better assess the impacts of harvesting them (for
218 medicinal or other purposes) on their wild populations (Alves et al. 2007).
219 Moreover, it is important to promote research which can integrate all factors
220 (including traditional medicine) affecting the species listed in this study, in order to
221 develop a model to assess the sustainability of the current exploitation strategies,
222 and to propose feasible conservation measures. Medicinal species that are threa-
223 tened should receive urgent attention, and efforts to tackle their habitat loss or
224 alteration could be further supported by highlighting their present and future
225 medicinal uses.
226 Acknowledgments This work was fully supported by Rufford Small Grants Foundation (RSG
227 REFERENCE NUMBER: 8291–1). We are grateful to the traders who participated in this
228 research. Our acknowledgments also go to the colleagues Tewogbade Jean-Didier Akpona,
229 Chrystelle Dakpogan, and Gboja Mariano Houngbedji for their assistance during the field data
230 collection phase.
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231 17.4 Appendix A: List of the medicinal wild mammal species
232 inventoried on the markets
233 Carnivora (20 species)
234 Atilax paludinosus (G.[Baron] Cuvier, 1829)
235 Ichneumia albicauda (G.[Baron] Cuvier, 1829)
236 Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758)
237 Galerella sanguinea (Rüppell, 1835)
238 Crossarchus obscurus (F. G. Cuvier, 1825)
239 Lutra maculicollis (Lichtenstein, 1835)
240 Mellivora capensis (Schreber, 1776)
241 Ictonyx striatus (Perry, 1810)
242 Genetta genetta (Linnaeus, 1758)
243 Genetta pardina (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1832)
244 Civettictis civetta (Schreber, 1776)
245 Nandinia binotata (Gray, 1830)
246 Caracal caracal (Schreber, 1776)
247 Felis silvestris (Schreber, 1777)
248 Canis adustus (Sundevall, 1847)
249 Panthera leo (Linnaeus, 1758)
250 Panthera pardus (Linnaeus, 1758)
251 Acinonyx jubatus (Schreber, 1775)
252 Crocuta crocuta (Erxleben, 1777)
253 Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820)
254 Chiroptera (9 species)
255 Epomophorus gambianus (Ogilby, 1835)
256 Epomops franqueti (Tomes, 1860)
257 Hypsignathus monstrosus (H. Allen, 1861)
258 Megaloglossus woermanni (Pagenstecher, 1885)
259 Eidolon helvum (Kerr, 1792)
260 Hipposideros cyclops (Temminck, 1853)
261 Micropteropus pusillus (Peters, 1867)
262 Nanonycteris veldkampi (Jentink, 1888)
263 Epomophorus gambianus (Ogilby, 1835)
264 Primates (10 species)
265 Chlorocebus aethiops (Linnaeus, 1758)
266 Cercopithecus mona (Schreber, 1774)
267 Erythrocebus patas (Schreber, 1775)
268 Papio Anubis (Lesson, 1827)
269 Colobus vellerosus (I. Geoffroy, 1834)
270 Procolobus verus (Van Beneden, 1838)
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271 Galago senegalensis (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1796)
272 Gorilla gorilla (Savage and Wyman, 1847)
273 Pan troglodytes (Blumenbach, 1775)
274 Perodicticus potto (Müller, 1766)
275 Soricomorpha (2 species)
276 Crocidura olivieri (Lesson, 1827)
277 Crocidura poensis (Fraser, 1843)
278 Erinaceomorpha (1 species)
279 Atelerix albiventris (Wagner, 1841)
280 Lagomorpha (1 species)
281 Lepus capensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
282 Artiodactyla (12 species)
283 Syncerus caffer (Sparrman, 1779)
284 Hippotragus equinus (Desmarest, 1804)
285 Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa
286 Kobus kob (Erxleben, 1777)
287 Ourebia ourebi (Zimmermann, 1783)
288 Alcelaphus buselaphus (Pallas, 1766)
289 Redunca redunca (Pallas, 1767)
290 Tragelaphus scriptus (Pallas, 1766)
291 Cephalophus rifulatus;
292 Sylvicapra grimmia (Linnaeus, 1758)
293 Cephalophus silvicultor (Afzelius, 1815)
294 Tragelaphus spekii (P. L. Sclater, 1863)
295 Perissodactyla (1 species)
296 Equus zebra (Linnaeus, 1758)
297 Pholidota (2 species)
298 Manis tricuspis (Rafinesque, 1821)
299 Manis gigantea (Illiger, 1815)
300 Proboscidea (1 species)
301 Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach, 1797)
302 Rodentia (25 species)
303 Uranomys ruddi (Dollman, 1909)
304 Tatera guineae (Thomas, 1910)
305 Lemniscomys zebra (Heuglin, 1864)
306 Funisciurus leucogenys (Waterhouse, 1842)
307 Xerus erythropus (Desmarest, 1817)
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 379
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308 Anomalurus derbianus (Gray, 1842)
309 Tatera guineae (Thomas, 1910)
310 Steatomys jacksoni (Hayman, 1936)
311 Protoxerus stangeri (Waterhouse, 1842)
312 Myomys derooi (Van der Straeten and Verheyen, 1978)
313 Mus haussa (Thomas and Hinton, 1920)
314 Malacomys longipes (Milne-Edwards, 1877)
315 Mastomys natalensis (Smith, 1834)
316 Lophuromys sikapusi (Temminck, 1853)
317 Lemniscomys striatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
318 Hylomyscus alleni (Waterhouse, 1838)
319 Graphiurus lorraineus (Dollman, 1910)
320 Heliosciurus gambianus (Ogilby, 1835)
321 Funisciurus substriatus (de Winton, 1899)
322 Arvicanthis niloticus (Desmarest, 1822)
323 Atherurus africanus (Gray, 1842)
324 Cricetomys emini (Wroughton, 1910)
325 Cricetomys gambianus (Waterhouse, 1840)
326 Thryonomys swinderianus (Temminck, 1827)
327 Acomys cineraceus (Heuglin, 1877)
328 Tubulidentata (1 species)
329 Orycteropus afer (Pallas, 1766)
330 Hyracoidea (2 species)
331 Procavia capensis kerstingi (Matschie, 1899)
332 Dendrohyrax dorsalis sylvestris (Temminck, 1855)
333 References
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336 Adjakpa JB, Ogouvide FT (1998) Contribution à l’étude économique et socioculturelle des
337 oiseaux sauvages utilisés en pharmacopée béninois. CEROE, Cotonou
338 Akpona H (2004) Facteurs de conservation des loutres au Sud du Bénin : cas de forêt classée de la
339 Lama et des corridors avec les zones humides de la Vallée de l’Ouémé. Thèse d’ingénieur
340 agronome. FSA/UAC. Abomey-Calavi, Benin
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342 Northeastern Brazil: implications for conservation and management. Biodiver Conserv 16:
343 969–985
344 Alves RRN, Rosa IL, Santana GG (2007) The role of animal-derived remedies as complementary
345 medicine in Brazil. BioScience, 57(11):949–955
346 Alves RRN, Leo Neto NA, Brooks SE, Albuquerque UP (2009) Commercialization of animal-
347 derived remedies as complementary medicine in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil.
348 J Ethnopharmacol 124:600–608
380 C. A. M. S. Djagoun et al.
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349 Assogbadjo AE (2000) Etude de la biodiversité des ressources forestières alimentaires et
350 évaluation de leur contribution à l’alimentation des populations locales de la forêt classée de
351 la Lama. Thèse d’ingénieur agronome. FSA/UNB. Abomey-Calavi, Benin
352 CENATEL (1992) Carte des aires protégées du Bénin extraite de la carte générale du Bénin au 1/
353 600.000, IGN 1992, Cotonou, Bénin
354 Costa-Neto EM (2005) Animal-based medicines: biological prospection and the sustainable use
355 of zootherapeutic resources. An Acad Bras Cienc 77(1):33–43
356 Costa-Neto EM, Marques JGW (2000) Faunistic resources used as medicines by artisanal
357 fishermen from Siribinha Beach, State of Bahia, Brazil. J Ethnobiol 20:93–109
358 Coubéou PT (1995) Diversité faunistique des différents biotopes de la forêt classée de la Lama.
359 Thèse d’ingénieur agronome. FSA/UNB. Abomey-Calavi, Bénin
360 De Visser J, Mensah GA, Codjia JTC, Bokonon-Ganta AH (2001) Guide préliminaire de
361 reconnaissance des rongeurs du Bénin. C.B.D.D./Ecooperation/ReRE/VZZ - République du
362 Bénin/Royaume des Pays-Bas
363 Djagoun CAMS (2005) Abondance et répartition des espèces de mangouste (Crossarchus
364 obscurus Cuvier, 1825) dans la forêt de Niaouli. Mémoire d’obtention du DIT. APE/EPAC/
365 UAC, Benin
366 Djagoun CAMS, Gaubert P (2009) Small carnivorans from southern Benin: a preliminary
367 assessment of diversity and hunting pressure. Small Carnivore Conserv 40:1–10
368 FAO (2001) La situation des forêts et de la faune sauvage en Afrique. Commission régionale de
369 la FAO pour l’Afrique, Rome
370 INSAE-RGPH (2006) Recensement général de la population et de l’habitat. Résultats provisoires.
371 Cotonou, Bénin
372 Kunin WE, Lawton JH (1996) Does biodiversity matter? Evaluating the case for conserving
373 species. In: Gaston KJ (ed) Biodiversity: a biology of numbers and differences. Blackwell
374 Science, Oxford, pp 283–308
375 Lamarque F (2004) Les grands mammifères du Complexe WAP. Union Européenne/CIRAD/
376 ECOPAS
377 Lee S, Hoover C, Gaski A, Mills J (1998) A world apart? Attitudes toward traditional Chinese
378 medicine and endangered species in Hong Kong and the United States. TRAFFIC EastAsia,
379 TRAFFIC North America, and World Wildlife Fund—US, Washington, DC
380 Lee S (1999) Trade in traditional medicine using endangered species: an international context.
381 Proceedings of the second australian symposium on traditional medicine and wildlife
382 conservation, Melbourne, Australia
383 Mensah A, Pomalegni B, Anagonou G, Anani C, Gnanhoui David S (2006) Inventaire des
384 mammifères rongeurs et des reptiles dans la Réserve de Biosphère de la Pendjari. Rapport
385 technique final. GTZ, Bénin
386 Neuenshwander P, Sinsin B, Goergen G (2011) Protection de la Nature en Afrique de l’Ouest:
387 Une Liste Rouge pour le Bénin. Nature conservation in West Africa: red list for benin.
388 International institute of tropical agriculture, Ibadan
389 Sinsin B, Sogbohossou EA, Nobime G, Mama A (2008) Dénombrement aérien de la faune dans
390 la Réserve de Biosphère de la Pendjari: Rapport technique. CENAGREF/Projet Pendjari—
391 CTZ-GFA Consulting, Benin
392 Soewu DA (2008) Wild animals in ethnozoological practices among the Yorubas of southwestern
393 Nigeria and the implications for biodiversity conservation. Afr J Agric Res 3:421–427
17 Wild Mammals Trade for Zootherapeutic and Mythic Purposes in Benin 381
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... Rodents host the vast majority of mammal-borne zoonotic viruses [34,39], and appear in zootherapies globally [8,15,[40][41][42][43]. In a survey of 22 traditional medicine markets across Benin, rodents were the most abundant and speciose taxa represented, with nearly half of the reported local species found in traditional medicine markets [44]. Preparation and use of rodents as traditional medicine could provide less apparent opportunities for the transmission of rodentborne zoonoses. ...
... In addition to being hunted for food, bats are used in zootherapies globally, including the use of small house-dwelling bats (Nepal), bat fat (Pakistan), and bat teeth (Malaysia) for medicinal and cultural purposes [61][62][63]. Bats are also used to cure asthma, arthritis, and fever in Bangladesh [57], to enhance female fertility in Nigeria [64,65], and are sold widely in traditional medicine markets in Benin [44]. The hunting and consumption of bats for meat and medicine involves at least 167 species in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Central and South America, including reservoirs of zoonotic disease and threatened species [34,38]. ...
... One Health Outlook (2022) 4:5 of bats described elsewhere include the inhalation of smoke from burning bats to treat pneumonia in Tanzania [102] and consumption of bat meat to improve female fertility and celebrate religious festivals in other regions of Nigeria [64,65]. Bats are also sold in traditional medicine markets by 49% of traders in Benin [44] and 21% of traders in South Africa for "unknown reasons" [101]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Understanding how and why people interact with animals is important for the prevention and control of zoonoses. To date, studies have primarily focused on the most visible forms of human-animal contact (e.g., hunting and consumption), thereby blinding One Health researchers and practitioners to the broader range of human-animal interactions that can serve as cryptic sources of zoonotic diseases. Zootherapy, the use of animal products for traditional medicine and cultural practices, is widespread and can generate opportunities for human exposure to zoonoses. Existing research examining zootherapies omits details necessary to adequately assess potential zoonotic risks. Methods: We used a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data from questionnaires, key informant interviews, and field notes to examine the use of zootherapy in nine villages engaged in wildlife hunting, consumption, and trade in Cross River State, Nigeria. We analyzed medicinal and cultural practices involving animals from a zoonotic disease perspective, by including details of animal use that may generate pathways for zoonotic transmission. We also examined the sociodemographic, cultural, and environmental contexts of zootherapeutic practices that can further shape the nature and frequency of human-animal interactions. Results: Within our study population, people reported using 44 different animal species for zootherapeutic practices, including taxonomic groups considered to be "high risk" for zoonoses and threatened with extinction. Variation in use of animal parts, preparation norms, and administration practices generated a highly diverse set of zootherapeutic practices (n = 292) and potential zoonotic exposure risks. Use of zootherapy was patterned by demographic and environmental contexts, with zootherapy more commonly practiced by hunting households (OR = 2.47, p < 0.01), and prescriptions that were gender and age specific (e.g., maternal and pediatric care) or highly seasonal (e.g., associated with annual festivals and seasonal illnesses). Specific practices were informed by species availability and theories of healing (i.e., "like cures like" and sympathetic healing and magic) that further shaped the nature of human-animal interactions via zootherapy. Conclusions: Epidemiological investigations of zoonoses and public health interventions that aim to reduce zoonotic exposures should explicitly consider zootherapy as a potential pathway for disease transmission and consider the sociocultural and environmental contexts of their use in health messaging and interventions.
... Contrary to bushmeat markets, traditional medicine markets (TMMs) exhibit live animals, skulls and dried body parts (together with vegetal and wood-crafted items) entirely dedicated to traditional practices [6]. In Benin and neighboring countries (from southeastern Ghana to southwestern Nigeria), TMMs represent a vibrant economy, deeply anchored into the Vodoun religion and its spiritual practices [7]. However, the business around the animal products sold in TMMs is mostly unknown and unregulated. ...
... TMMs are considered a severe threat to wildlife conservation, as they trade a large diversity of -notably protected-species potentially across large distances [8,9]. In Benin, Djagoun et al. [7] reported that rare species were sold at higher prices, possibly constituting an economic incentive for the trade of threatened species. ...
... Medical surveys in the TMMs of Benin are urgently required to assess the health risks for practitioners and clients. Given the wide distribution and interconnected aspect of TMMs in western Africa [7,9], the unregulated use of Sniper is likely a "time bomb" [20] of public health concern for the sub-region. There is a global need to rethink the use of animals in traditional medicine, for the sake of both biodiversity conservation and human health. ...
Article
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Health risks associated to the use of tropical wildlife have so far been envisioned through the lens of zoonotic pathogens spread by the bushmeat trade, putting aside the equally vibrant network of traditional medicine markets (TMMs). We collected information on the preservative techniques used for animal body parts from TMMs in Benin through a semi-structured questionnaire addressed to 45 sellers. We show that a recent shift from traditional preservative techniques using harmless treatments towards modern techniques –involving the recurrent use of hazardous chemicals (such as Sniper)– is likely to pose a serious health risk to practitioners and consumers of animal parts from TMMs in Benin. We conclude that the non-regulation of the TMM activities represents a critical risk to both biodiversity conservation and human health in western Africa.
... Bushmeat species also play a vital role in traditional African medicine where animal-derived body parts (items) are used for the treatment of diseases, ailments and spiritual purposes (e.g. [6,7]). The specific markets, mostly urban, where such items are sold add to the bushmeat selling network already connecting rural to main urban centres [8]. ...
... Among the four species of African pangolins, the white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) is the most frequently found on the bushmeat and traditional medicine markets (e.g. [17,18]), notably in West Africa [6,7,16,19]. Ethnozoological knowledge on the species shows a diversity of uses by local communities involved in medicinal and spiritual practices, to treat convulsion, rheumatism, hiccups, healing wounds, woman unfaithfulness and impotence [18,20]. ...
... Ethnozoological knowledge on the species shows a diversity of uses by local communities involved in medicinal and spiritual practices, to treat convulsion, rheumatism, hiccups, healing wounds, woman unfaithfulness and impotence [18,20]. Scales are the most commonly used, although various items such as tongue, bones and head are also regularly found on the traditional medicine market (TMM [6,7];). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Pangolins are trafficked in unsustainable volumes to feed both local and global trade networks for their meat and the medicinal properties of their derivatives, including scales. We focus on a West African country (Benin) to assess the medicinal and spiritual values of pangolins among different ethnic groups and identify the cohort of buyers involved in the pangolin trade and related economic values along the chain, notably from local diasporas. Methods We organised 54 focus groups in villages surrounding occurrence habitats of pangolins across Benin and conducted 35 individual interviews with vendors from five major traditional medicine markets (TMMs). Our questionnaire addressed the different uses of pangolins, the commercial value of pangolin items, the categories of clients and the related selling prices. Results Pangolin meat was strictly consumed as food. Scales, head, bones, tongue, blood, heart and xiphisternum were the items used by local communities as part of medicinal (65% of the focus groups) and spiritual (37%) practices. Scales were the most frequently used item (use value index = 1.56). A total of 42 medicinal and spiritual uses, covering 15 International Classification of Diseases (ICD) categories, were recorded among ethnic groups. The ICD and spiritual categories-based analyses of similarity showed a partial overlapping of ethnozoological knowledge across Benin, although knowledge was significantly influenced by ethnicity and geographic location. The pricing of pangolins both varied with the category of stakeholders (local communities vs. stakeholders of TMMs) and clients (local and West African clients vs. Chinese community) and the type of items sold. The Chinese community was reported to only buy pangolins alive, and average selling prices were 3–8 times higher than those to West African clients. Conclusions Our results confirm that pangolins in Africa are valuable and versatile resources for consumption and medicinal / spiritual practices. The pangolin trade in Benin is based on an endogenous and complex network of actors that now appears influenced by the specific, high-valued demand from the Chinese diaspora. Further investigations are required to assess the growing impact of the Chinese demand on the African wildlife trade.
... Superstitions and beliefs are often attached to nocturnal animals, including primates (Svensson 2008;Svensson et al. 2015). In our study, trade of this type was reported mostly from West Africa, and this is mirrored to some extent in previous studies (Djagoun et al. 2012;Svensson et al. 2015). Galagos in Togo were reported to be valuable in fetish markets, and seven respondents from West Africa reported seeing them at least once a month in these kinds of markets. ...
... Animals traded in fetish markets for traditional practices are also traded across borders. Djagoun et al. (2012) reported that 32% of traded species in these markets in Benin came from other countries, mainly West African, but also from Central, North and East Africa. We received few reports of cross-border trade. ...
Article
Full-text available
Primates are traded yearly in the tens of thousands for reasons such as biomedical research, as trophies and pets, for consumption and to be used in traditional medicine. In many cases, this trade is illegal, unsustainable and considered a major impediment to primate conservation. Diurnal primates make up the vast majority of this trade, but recent studies have found that the trade in nocturnal primates is more common than previously thought, and among them are the galagos. There are currently 19 galagos recognized but there is still a dearth of research on these species and subspecies. The purpose of our study was to provide a more comprehensive picture of the trade in galagos within and across their African range countries, to help determine whether it is illegal or its sustainability needs to be assessed, and to provide baseline data and management recommendations to better regulate this trade, including strengthening policy, enforcement and conservation interventions. We gathered information on trade and use of galagos using an online questionnaire (May-August 2020), and on country-specific legislation relating to wildlife trade, hunting and legal protection of galagos, and looked at each range country's Corruption Perception Index score to gain an understanding of the obstacles in the way of effective law enforcement. We received 140 responses to our online questionnaire, from 31 of the 39 galago range countries. Respondents from 16 of these countries reported on first-hand observations of galagos being traded or used. Out of these, 36% reported seeing galagos sold or used for consumption, 33% as pets and 25% had observed them sold or used for traditional practices (including medical and magical purposes and for witchcraft). Most reports came from West Africa followed by Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. We found that the number of reports on galagos being traded was higher in countries with higher numbers of galago species. Countries with more restrictive legislation experienced a higher number of reports of trade. Galagos observed in the pet trade was more common in East Africa, whilst reports of them in the bushmeat trade were more common in Central and West Africa. Galagos observed in the trade for traditional practices was by far most common from West Africa. We found that all galago range countries have some level of legal protection for some or all of their native galago species. It is evident that use and trade of galagos occurs throughout their range, albeit localized to certain areas. We urge galago range countries to adequately protect all species and to ensure legal trade is effectively regulated. Range countries that prohibit the use and trade in galagos must ensure legislation is adequately enforced. Further research into the drivers behind the use and trade of galagos should be initiated in countries with high levels of use and trade to further inform conservation and policy actions and to catalyze enforcement actions against poaching and illegal trade.
... Range states from North, West and Central Africa also consider illegal trade to be a significant threat. Although there are no known confiscations of Cheetah (live or otherwise) from this region and few observations of illegal trade and possession (but see Djagoun et al 2013), it is likely that Cheetah get absorbed into a widespread illegal market for big cat skins used for traditional ceremonial purposes and médico-magiques. Throughout the region, fakes are abundant and are much more commonly observed than genuine big cat parts and items, which may be indicative of a demand for genuine products. ...
... Contrary to the bushmeat markets in Têgon (Benin), Hounkpogon (Benin) and Asejire (southwestern Nigeria) that are known to source the game from nearby forests ( [18], this study), the endemicity of the pangolin trade was not expected for the traditional medicine markets (TMMs). This is because the large geographic source from which the TMM network relies was shown in previous investigations from Benin and Nigeria, revealing the long-distance trade of non-native species [53,54]. Moreover, there is a great demand for pangolins in the Dahomey Gap [55], notably from the Chinese diaspora [7], and the trade of pangolins across borders has been reported elsewhere in tropical Africa [6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: African pangolins are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of harvesting, feeding both local demands and the illegal international trade. So far, the lack of knowledge on the population genetics of African pangolins has hampered any attempts at assessing their demographic status and tracing their trade at the local scale. We conducted a pioneer study on the genetic tracing of the African pangolin trade in the Dahomey Gap (DG). We sequenced and genotyped 189 white-bellied pangolins from 18 forests and 12 wildlife markets using one mitochondrial fragment and 20 microsatellite loci. Results: Tree-based assignment procedure showed that the pangolin trade is endemic to the DG region, as it was strictly fed by the the Dahomey Gap lineage (DGL). DGL populations were characterized by low levels of genetic diversity, an overall absence of equilibrium, important inbreeding levels, and lack of geographic structure. We identified a 92-98% decline in DGL effective population size 200-500 ya-concomitant with major political transformations along the 'Slave Coast'-leading to contemporaneous estimates being inferior to minimum viable population size (< 500). Genetic tracing suggested that wildlife markets from the DG sourced pangolins through the entire DGL range. Our loci provided the necessary power to distinguish among all the genotyped pangolins, tracing the dispatch of a same individual on the markets and within local communities. We developed an approach combining rarefaction analysis of private allele frequencies with cross-validation of observed data that traced five traded pangolins to their forest origin, c. 200-300 km away from the markets. Conclusions: Although the genetic toolkit that we designed from traditional markers can prove helpful to trace the illegal trade in pangolins, our tracing ability was limited by the lack of population structure within the DGL. Given the deleterious combination of genetic, demographic, and trade-related factors affecting DGL populations, the conservation status of white-bellied pangolins in the DG should be urgently re-evaluated.
... The international trade in pangolins was banned when they were transferred to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES;, and all African pangolins are classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List (International Union of Conservation Nature [IUCN], 2021). In terms of local use within African countries, research has shown that in West Africa, nearly all parts of the animal have been reported to be used in African traditional medicine, purported to treat a plethora of different spiritual and physical ailments including rheumatism, convulsions, asthma, and cardiovascular and dermatological problems (Akpona et al., 2008;Boakye et al., 2014;2015;D'Cruze et al., 2020;Djagoun et al., 2012;Soewu & Adekanola, 2011;Soewu & Ayodele, 2009). Whilst research efforts on pangolins have increased, there is still limited information on pangolin ecology and local uses of pangolins, particularly in Central Africa. ...
Article
Full-text available
Information about the presence and population status of pangolins, and the threats they face, remains limited in many parts of Cameroon, a country that is home to three species of pangolin and considered to be a global hub of pangolin trafficking. Local communities living in rural areas can provide valuable information on species presence, local uses of wildlife, and possible threats, that is useful for prioritising conservation actions. Using interview surveys in 20 villages surrounding Mbam and Djerem National Park, we investigated local peoples’ knowledge of pangolin presence, perceptions of population trends, cultural importance, consumptive and non-consumptive uses, and hunting of pangolins. Our results showed that most people recognised the white-bellied and giant pangolins, but only 10% recognised the black-bellied pangolin. Ethnolinguistic group significantly affected the likelihood of respondents recognising and having seen a pangolin before. Giant pangolin populations were perceived to be declining, particularly by older respondents. We found evidence of local use of pangolins for meat, but few respondents reported uses of scales. Cultural significance was reported by few respondents, but when it was reported it mostly referred to giant pangolin. White-bellied pangolins are reportedly hunted using bare hands for local consumption most frequently, whilst giant pangolins were mainly hunted for local consumption and income generation using wire snares. Overall, our study shows the possible value of local knowledge for planning and prioritising conservation actions for pangolins. We highlight the urgent need to monitor pangolin populations, and assess the possible impacts to pangolins from threats such as hunting.
... Indeed, the trade in animals for medicinal purposes at local markets has become a routine practice in several countries across the globe [10][11][12][13]. The local markets serve as a place for acquiring resources for healing and function as a point for the evaluation of the exploitation of regional biodiversity [1,5,11,12,14]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Kumasi Central Market is the largest urban open market in Ghana and animals used for medicinal purposes are among the items that are typically displayed for sale. However, no study has been undertaken on the animal species sold for traditional medicine purposes. This study took inventory of animal species traded for medicinal purposes in the Kumasi Central Market and examined their conservation implications. The species recorded to be traded comprised 5 taxonomic classes, belonging to 20 families. Chameleons were found to be the most traded animal species. Seven (23%) of the species traded were found to be threatened under IUCN Red List, with four (13%) species listed on Appendix I of CITES, and eight (26%) species on Schedule I of Wildlife Conservation Regulations of Ghana. Wildlife regulations are not serving as a deterrent to the trade in threatened animal species. There is a need to sensitize traders about the threats faced by these animal species and provide explanations as to why these species should be protected.
... Bat-associated zoonoses are of public health concern but the zoonotic origins and modes of transmission of many such diseases remain obscure [29][30][31]. For example, African fruit bats have been implicated as putative reservoirs of loviruses responsible for viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks [32][33][34], but documenting how spillover transmission occurs has proven challenging [42,43]. Much of the attention surrounding human-bat interactions has focused on more visible forms of contact (e.g., hunting, butchering, and consumption) [37][38][39][40][41][42][43]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Understanding how and why people interact with animals is important for prevention and control of zoonoses. To date, studies have primarily focused on the most visible forms of human-animal contact (e.g., hunting and consumption), thereby blinding One Health researchers and practitioners to the broad range of human-animal interactions that can serve as neglected sources of zoonotic diseases. Zootherapy, the use of animal products for traditional medicine and cultural practices, is widespread and can generate opportunities for human exposure to zoonoses. Still, existing research examining zootherapies omits details necessary to adequately assess potential zoonotic risks. Methods: We used a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data from questionnaires, key informant interviews, and field notes to examine the use of zootherapy in nine villages engaged in wildlife hunting, consumption, and trade in Nigeria. We analyzed medicinal and cultural practices involving animals from a zoonotic disease perspective, by including details of animal use that may generate pathways for transmission of animal-borne infections. We also examined the sociodemographic and cultural contexts of zootherapeutic practices that can further shape the nature and frequency of human-animal interactions. Results: Within our study population, people reported using 44 different animal species for zootherapeutic practices, including “high risk” taxonomic groups. Variation in use of animal parts, preparation norms, and administration practices generated a highly diverse set of zootherapeutic practices (n = 292) and variation in associated zoonotic exposure risks. Use of zootherapy was patterned by demographic and environmental contexts, with zootherapy more commonly practiced by hunting households (OR=2.47, p<0.01), and prescriptions that were gender and age specific (e.g., maternal or pediatric care) or highly seasonal (e.g., associated with annual festivals and seasonal illnesses). Specific practices were informed by different theories of healing (i.e., “like cures like” theory of healing and sympathetic healing and magic) that further shaped the nature of human-animal interactions via zootherapy. Conclusions: Epidemiological investigations of zoonoses and public health interventions that aim to reduce zoonotic exposures should explicitly consider zootherapy as a potential pathway for disease transmission and consider the sociocultural contexts of their use in health messaging and interventions.
Article
Tree hyraxes (Dendrohyrax) are one of only three genera currently recognized in Procaviidae, the only extant family in the mammalian order Hyracoidea. Their taxonomy and natural history have received little attention in recent decades. All tree hyrax populations of Guineo-Congolian forests of Africa are currently treated as a single species, Dendrohyrax dorsalis, the western tree hyrax, but many other groups of mammals distributed across this large biome have been shown to consist of several different species, each restricted to a distinct biogeographical region. We analysed variation in loud-call structure, pelage colour, skull morphometrics and mitochondrial genomes in populations across much of the range of D. dorsalis. This integrative approach uncovered considerable cryptic variation. The population found between the Niger and Volta Rivers in West Africa is particularly distinctive, and we describe it herein as a new species. Our study highlights the need to revise the taxonomy of the genus Dendrohyrax in light of modern systematics and current understanding of its distribution. It also adds to a growing body of evidence that the Niger–Volta interfluvium has a distinct meso-mammal fauna. Unfortunately, the fauna of this region is under major threat and warrants much greater conservation attention.
Article
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Although animal-derived remedies constitute an integral part of folk medicine in many parts of the world, particularly for people with limited or no access to mainstream medical services, their role in health care has generally been overlooked in discussions about public health, conservation and management of faunistic resources, and ecosystem protection. In this article, we report on the use of 283 medicinal animal species in Brazil, 96% of which are wild caught and 27% of which are on one or more lists of endangered species. Further population declines may limit users' access to these bioresources and diminish the knowledge base upon which traditional medicine is built.
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The information needed for implementing nature protection in Benin is sparse and scattered. This volume for the first time presents information in 33 chapters covering rare and threatened plants, insects, fishes, antelopes, large cats, etc. The status of over 550 species is evaluated according to IUCN criteria and their local names, short descriptions, ecologies and distributions are given. The book is of interest to those working in nature conservation from schools, NGOs, tourists to government agencies.
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We conducted a preliminary study totalling nine-weeks between August 2007 and June 2008 in southern Benin to assess small car-nivoran diversity and the hunting pressure to which they are subject through interviews, surveys of local markets and occasional direct observations. We provide an 'Index of Rarity' (IR), expressed as the number of times a species is identified as 'rare' by interviewees / the number of times it is mentioned. Nine species or taxa (Genetta spp.) were identified through 86 interviewed hunters, representing a total 333 mentions. Genets, Cusimanse Crossarchus obscurus and Ichneumon Mongoose Herpestes ichneumon were by far the most sighted, the prevalence of such ecologically versatile species confirming that southern Benin constitutes an environmentally disturbed region. Other species were Spotted-necked Otter Hydrictis maculicollis, Marsh Mongoose Atilax paludinosus, White-tailed Mongoose Ichneumia albicauda, African Civet Civettictis civetta, Gambian Mongoose Mungos gambianus and African Palm-civet Nandinia bi-notata. Direct observations allowed us to confirm the presence of G. pardina / G. maculata, C. obscurus, H. ichneumon, and H. macu-licollis. Through market surveys and subsequent molecular identifications, we clearly distinguished among G. genetta, G. pardina / G. maculata and G. thierryi, raising to 11 the number of small carnivoran species present (or probably present) in southern Benin. During our interviews, Slender Mongoose Galerella sanguinea and African Small-clawed Otter Aonyx capensis were never positively identi-fied. The ubiquitous C. civetta was considered the rarest species (IR = 0.89), followed by H. maculicollis (0.72) and I. albicauda (0.69), whereas C. obscurus (0.01) was the commonest small carnivoran. Hunting techniques were mostly traditional guns, accompanied by dogs, and jaw traps. Despite the absence of selective hunting, small carnivorans are likely to represent a fair source of income for hunters, body parts being sold to fetish markets in 47% of the cases. Mean incomes range between US$ 2.5 and 5.4 per animal, with the notable exception of C. civetta (US$ = 14.6) and heads of H. maculicollis, reaching US$ 33.7. The fair proportion of small carnivorans observed on fetish market displays showed that hunting for animist practices might sustain a continuous hunting pressure in Benin. Our preliminary survey raises a number of questions as to the distribution of small carnivorans in southern Benin, the impact of heavily dis-turbed habitats on their survival and the level of sustainability of the hunting pressure they are subject to. Additional field surveys will be necessary for more precise characterisation of their status.
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A questionnaire-guided ethno-zoological survey of the Yoruba speaking communities of Ogun state (Nigeria) was conducted. Forty Traditional Medical Practitioners (tmps) and ten hunters were interviewed. The choice of species utilised in fauna-based traditional medicinal preparations were found to be guided by many factors which in addition to the bioactive constituents, also include some morpho-physiological characteristics and behavioural ecology of the animal as well as some mythological conceptions associated with the animal. Out of the 55 species identified in use for various traditional medical practices, 21 are listed as threatened in Nigeria's Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Decree 11 of 1985 and the Control of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Animals raised under ex-situ conservation projects were not readily acceptable for perceived deficiencies in requisite characteristics that informed the choice of fauna species. The use of substitute species was also found not acceptable as preferred substitute species are often animals under higher threat than regular one in use. Implications of the findings on biodiversity conservation were discussed.
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Snakes are sold in many markets and religious article stores in Brazil. Besides their use as food, snakes are exploited in a variety of ways, such as pets, or for use in traditional medicine and magic/religious rituals (especially in Afro-Brazilian religions). Despite widespread commercialization, there is a general lack of information about this snake trade, which makes it difficult to evaluate its magnitude and its impact on reptile populations. This work documents the commercialization and use of snakes in five cities in Northeastern (São Luís, Teresina, João Pessoa and Campina Grande) and Northern (Belém) Brazil, through interviews with 119 merchants of biological products in outdoor markets and religious articles stores. The data was gathered through the use of semi-structured questionnaires, complemented by semi-directed interviews. The products derived from 11 snake species were being commercialized for medicinal or magical/religious purposes. Boa constrictor, Crotalus durissus and Eunectes murinus were the species most commonly sold. The economic importance of snakes as sources of medicines and religious products demonstrates the need for the development of sustainable use programs for these species.
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Animals have been used as medicinal resources for the treatment and relieve of a myriad of illnesses and diseases in practically every human culture. Although considered by many as superstition, the pertinence of traditional medicine based on animals cannot be denied since they have been methodically tested by pharmaceutical companies as sources of drugs to the modern medical science. The phenomenon of zootherapy represents a strong evidence of the medicinal use of animal resources. Indeed, drug companies and agribusiness firms have been evaluating animals for decades without paying anything to the countries from where these genetic resources are found. The use of animals' body parts as folk medicines is relevant because it implies additional pressure over critical wild populations. It is argued that many animal species have been overexploited as sources of medicines for the traditional trade. Additionally, animal populations have become depleted or endangered as a result of their use as experimental subjects or animal models. Research on zootherapy should be compatible with the welfare of the medicinal animals, and the use of their by-products should be done in a sustainable way. It is discussed that sustainability is now required as the guiding principle for biological conservation.
Article
Utilization of animal wildlife and their by-products by farmers in Nigeria, as confirmed by this survey, is for cultural and religious ceremonies and traditional medicine. The pattern of consumption of wild animals depends on what species are available in different ecological zones. In traditional medicine, some wildlife by-products are acceptable nation-wide, while in religion, farmers are very selective — especially the Muslims. Culturally, utilization is largely by tribal and ethnic background. In the installation of traditional rulers and in performing traditional rites, some specific wild animals and their byproducts must be sacrificed. Wild animals are so vital to the rural people that adequate consideration must be given to maintaining wildlife habitats when rural development projects are planned. This is especially important when these projects involve major land-use changes or modification of traditional agricultural practices. Much of the small mammal, bird, and reptile, habitat is comprised of small wild patches, marshes, or narrow riparian strips, which can easily be destroyed by short-sighted activities. This wildlife is a valuable renewable resource which can continue to produce benefits only if adequate habitats and protection are available.
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In this study, we aim to document the use of animal species in traditional medicine and healing practices in the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil. While widespread and of great importance to large population that has limited access to contemporary medicine, such practices are poorly understood and the potential value of medicinal animal species largely unknown. Based on interviews with the merchants of medicinal animals, we calculated the informant consensus factor (ICF) to determine the consensus over which species are effective for particular ailments, as well as the species relative importance to determine the extent of potential utilization of each species. We describe the therapeutic effects of 36 animal species used medicinally. The zootherapeutical products sold commercially are used to treat 40 health problems that were classified into 10 broad categories. We also highlight those species valued for their effectiveness against a range of ailments. The highest ICF value (0.91) was cited for diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, which include relief of symptoms such as acne and furuncles. This study demonstrates that many animal species play an important role in healing practices. Animals provide the raw materials for remedies prescribed clinically and are also used in the form of amulets and charms in magic-religious rituals and ceremonies. The medicinal value of animal species depends on the local knowledge that exists within user communities, and therefore, the conservation of animal species is imperative to the preservation of local medicinal knowledge and culture.