Factors driving game meat hunting in Katwe Kabatoro town council in Kasese district
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Wild meat hunting is likely to cause extinction of some terrestrial mammals because of rampant poaching as commercially driven market continues to develop. The main objective of this research was to determine and have a better understanding of the factors driving game meat hunting in Katwe-Kabatoro Town Council in Kasese district, Uganda. This would act as a base for conservation stakeholders to come up with the appropriate measures to curb down the vice. The research data was generated through interviews. Forty respondents were selected using simple random sampling. The research study revealed that poaching to obtain wild meat has been majorly influenced by the inadequate income sources, the need for meat as food and the cultural value the communities attach to bush meat. Hippopotami, Uganda kobs and Warthogs were the most targeted species for bush meat. The animals are mostly snared near the park boundary, though, some poachers hunt using guns deep in the park to hunt buffalos and elephants. Hunting was found to be rampant in the festive seasons, that is to say, in the months of April and December when the local people mostly need meat to celebrate the festive days. The lack of alternative income sources, need for food, cultural attachments to bush meat such as taste, availability of snares obtained from hardware shops, motor garages/electricity dealers as well as guns hired from armed personnel contributed to the hunting of wild animals in the area. If not checked, bush meat hunting would threaten the survival of the highly poached mammal species by accelerating the decline in their populations as well as altering the composition and biomass of the ecosystems.