Market dynamics of bushmeat species in Equatorial Guinea.
Wild animals are an important protein source in many countries in West Africa. Studies of numbers and fluctuations of game species entering markets can provide vital information on wildlife use and exploitation in the consumer regions. Two market sites in each of the most important towns, Malabo (Bioko Island) and Bata (Rio Muni) in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa, were studied from October 1990 to October 1991. Fifteen and 38 species of mammals, bird and reptiles were recorded in Bioko and Rio Muni, respectively. A total of 18 012 carcasses was counted; 61.2% in Bioko and 38.8% in Rio Muni. Abundance and availability of individual bushmeat species were described by: (a) the daily abundance of species (DA) as the average number of carcass species per day during all sampled days; (b) the carcass volume (CV) for each species as the average number of carcasses species per day sold during available days, and (c) the species availability (MA) in markets as the percentage number of days per month during which a species was present for sale. Two species in Bioko and in Rio Muni accounted for more than half of all carcasses brought into markets. Seasonal differences in number of carcasses entering markets in Bioko were observed between dry and wet periods. In Rio Muni, increases were observed during the short dry and long rains periods. Monthly changes in number of carcasses of species were compared between markets using Spearman rank correlation tests. Two main clusters appeared in relation to abundance of species in markets. Bushmeat demand in large towns in Equatorial Guinea may possibly exceed supply at present. Studies of bushmeat dynamics in markets can be used to monitor use of wildlife resources in the country.