The first step in making exploitation of wildlife more sustainable is to determine the sustainability of current levels of harvest, which has two components: determining the offtake from an area and appraising the effect that this offtake has on species. The exploitation of wildlife from the catchment area of a major bushmeat market at Omagwa, in the eastern Niger Delta was initiated in 2005. Analyses of 2019 results are presented. The vegetation in the catchment area is not uniform lowland rainforest. Data on numbers of different species brought to the market were collected daily; after counting, the unsold carcasses were dismembered smoked and sold. Weekly numbers were pooled and monthly totals obtained. The sums of the 2-monthly totals collected in the rainy season of 2005, 2009, 2014 and 2019 were analyzed. Standard keys were used for identification. In 2005, Thryonomys swinderianus was dominant. The dominance of T. swinderianus was repeated in 2009. In 2014, there was no dominant species, although T. swinderianus constituted approximately 30%; the addition of the numbers of Tragelaphus spekei, Cercopithecus mona, Xerus erythopus and Atherurus africanus increased the figure to about 90%. In 2019, Civecttictis civetta rose to 43.12%, a 7-fold increase over the 2014 figure while that of T. swinderianus was 32%. Two rare species Panthera pardus and G. alleni, which had not been collected, were recorded. Civecttitis civetta conservation is recommended. It may serve as a flagship or ambassador species for the conservation of the large carnivore Panthera pardus and the primate Galago alleni.
Key words: Carnivores, conservation, Civettictis civetta, resilience, ambassador species, Niger Delta.
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