Poaching or illegal hunting of wildlife for bushmeat is common in Côte d’Ivoire and particularly in center-western regions where it is actually a major income source contrary to traditional livelihood need. In order to assess the threat and impact of illegal bushmeat off take on sustainable biodiversity and conservation of wildlife resources to fill the information gap we examined the quality and quantity of extracted wildlife fauna for bushmeat in these regions from September 2018 to April 2019. Forty- seven bushmeat data collection sites were considered. Data collection was designed to collect information on the species poached, quantity, sex of poached animals, age estimate as well as poaching methods. A total of 352 wildlife mammals corresponding to 8 orders and 18 species was collected from bushmeat traders and markets. The order of rodents comes largely in the lead with more than half of the specimens encountered that is, 67.05% and the grass cutter species, Thryonomys swinderianusis the most poached and the only one found in all the sites investigated. A significant sex-specific pressure (p<0.009) was noted. Despite 77.78% of the species collected are classified minor concern, it is undeniable that the conservation status of wildlife biodiversity will always be threatened by illegal hunting. It is therefore up to the state authorities to officially cover hunting with clear control measures for the sustainable management of wildlife biodiversity.
Key words: Bushmeat, illegal hunting, poaching, biodiversity, wildlife, harvest, conservation.
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