Assessment of illegal bushmeat using high thoroughput molecular tools in transboundary villages bordering Serengeti ecosystem in Tarime District, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Detection of illegal bush-meat in Africa has over the years relied on morphological identification technique, which is less effective due to post-hunting procedures. Therefore, the current study aimed at assessing bush-meat dynamics in trans-boundary areas of Tanzania and Kenya in the western part of Serengeti ecosystem. A cross-sectional design with two different methodologies was used. First, semi-structured questionnaires were administered to collect information on socio-demographic and other social factors leading to illegal bush-meat hunting, preference and consumption. Secondly, to augment the information obtained from the questionnaire, qPCR-HRM analysis was employed by using three different molecular markers 16s, Cytb and COI for molecular identification of assumed 138 collected sundried bush-meat samples. The results indicated that hunting occurs mostly in the dry season primarily using snares, and wildebeest was revealed to be the most hunted. Furthermore, young demonstrated high bush-meat consumption whereas immigrants showed high bush-meat preference. Likewise, highly educated young respondents indicated to have a high consumption and preference than less educated old respondents. Regarding molecular identification, 20 species were identified altogether, with zebra constituting the majority (n=51, 49.5%). It is recommended that high surveillance against poaching is needed by wildlife authorities during dry season; proper disposal of the unworthy wire cables by TANESCO; sensitization of both primary and secondary school students on legal harvesting of wildlife were made. Other recommendations focused on the need for proper execution of HRM procedures for bush- meat identification; and that for bush-meat samples to be accepted in court of law as exhibits should be analyzed using molecular procedures that proved to be reliable.


M.Sc. Dissertation


Illegal bushmeat, Molecular tools, Serengeti ecosystem, Tarime District, Tanzania, High Thoroughtput molecular tool