Our study took place in Garamba National Park (4900
), and the adjoining Azande Hunting Reserve (3200
), in Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is characterized by tall-grass savannah and contains large elephant and buffalo populations, while the reserve is a woodland-savannah/forest mosaic with human settlements. Hunting for bushmeat is illegal in the park, but legal for unprotected species (such as duikers and monkeys) in the reserve. We studied park protection and the bushmeat trade over three periods: seven months of stability prior to the Congolese civil war (Period 1: April–October 1996); four months of intense conflict when the rebel army arrived (Period 2: November 1996–February 1997); and four months of stability after the rebels gained control of the area (Period 3: March–June 1997).
Garamba National Park is managed by the government wildlife agency (the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) in conjunction with an international aid project (the Garamba National Park Project). To prevent illegal hunting, the park is protected by anti-poaching patrols of approximately 15 armed rangers on foot. These rangers, who are drawn from local communities, monitor all illegal activities using a recording system that allows subsequent patrols to be directed towards poaching hotspots. Since patrol frequency is a fundamental determinant of the successful protection of large mammals (Arcese et al. 1995
; Jachmann & Billiouw 1997
), we use it as our measure of protection effort. The Azande Hunting Reserve, in contrast, is not managed by the state nor is it protected by anti-poaching patrols. Hunting activity in the reserve comes under the jurisdiction of local traditional leaders and is predominantly legal. Bushmeat from the park is transported from the village of Mamba (approx. 1700 inhabitants) on the park–reserve boundary, through the reserve via the village of Kiliwa (3000 inhabitants; 50
km from Mamba), to the nearby town of Dungu (25
000 inhabitants) on the far edge of the reserve (90
km from Mamba).
We monitored the bushmeat trade in the Kiliwa (rural) and Dungu (urban) markets. Given the subject of our study and local conditions, our data collection techniques were designed to maximize trust. Fieldwork was therefore carried out with trained local assistants and only after a pilot study and three months' local residence by Emmanuel de Merode. All data were also regularly triangulated between observers. Bushmeat sales were recorded by quantitative surveys. In Dungu, two of the five urban markets opened once a week, one opened three times weekly and two opened daily; seven out of these 19 market days were randomly selected each week for a sample of 456 days (37% of all market days). The two Kiliwa rural markets only opened once a week, enabling us to survey every market day (n
=130). We counted the number of bushmeat stalls every 2
h and recorded the weight of bushmeat sold and geographical origin of the meat (established from the vendor).
In a companion paper (de Merode & Cowlishaw 2006
), we reported that 81% of Dungu urban sales (mostly elephant and buffalo) were illegally harvested from Garamba, and that these sales showed a massive increase during the armed conflict. In contrast, 82% of Kiliwa rural sales (primarily duikers and monkeys) were legally supplied from the reserve and remained stable throughout the study. We also documented the different sociopolitical structures that characterized the urban and rural bushmeat trade. The rural market, in which hunters sold directly to consumers, was controlled by the village chief. The urban market, in which bushmeat passed along a complex supply chain to consumers (involving hunters, porters, bicycle traders and market stall owners, all under the coordination of wholesalers), was controlled by military officers. These officers fled ahead of the rebels (at the end of period 1), leading to the collapse of the urban supply chain and an increase in the number of independent hunters operating in the park (period 2), until rebel officers re-established control (period 3). According to our hypothesis, we predict that the increase in independent hunters and illegal bushmeat offtake during the conflict was ultimately facilitated by a breakdown in anti-poaching patrols, and that their subsequent decline was due to a resumption of normal anti-poaching operations after peace had been restored.
We used generalized linear mixed models for repeated measures to analyse monthly patrol days and bushmeat sales. Our bushmeat sales dataset exhibited a hierarchical structure, with days nested within months within periods: these were entered as random effects, while explanatory variables were added as fixed effects. We employed Poisson models accounting for overdispersion using the RIGLS algorithm.