Drivers of bushmeat hunting and perceptions of zoonoses in Nigerian hunting communities
Bushmeat hunting threatens biodiversity and increases the risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission. Nevertheless, limited information exists on patterns of contact with wildlife in communities that practice bushmeat hunting, especially with respect to social drivers of hunting behavior. We used interview responses from hunters and non-hunters in rural hunting communities in Nigeria to: 1) quantify contact rates with wildlife, 2) identify specific hunting behaviors that increase frequency of contact, 3) identify socioeconomic factors that predispose individuals to hunt, and 4) measure perceptions of risk. Participants engaged in a variety of behaviors that increased contact with wild animals, including: butchering to sell (37%), being injured (14%), using body parts for traditional medicine (19%), collecting carcasses found in forests and/or farms (18%), and keeping as pets (16%).