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      Using meta-barcoding tools to monitor primate meat consumption at dedicated establishments in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

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      ARPHA Conference Abstracts

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Guinea-Bissau (GB) is a regional stronghold for primate conservation. Ten primates occur in the country, including the Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) and two colobus monkeys (Colobus polykomos and Piliocolobus badius temminckii). Primate meat is consumed at households and bushmeat-dedicated establishments, locally named "Abafatório". Such establishments are mentioned to be common in urban areas since the 1980s and to be specialized in serving primate meat while drinking alcoholic beverages. The meat is typically cooked in a stew and eaten with bread. However, as the trade and consumption of primate meat are illegal activities, the location of Abafatório establishments and details of the trade, namely species being consumed, are usually hidden from outsiders. Here, we characterize illicit bushmeat commerce and consumption at six Abafatórios of a small town. Our team visited the establishments every week for 15 months (2015-2017) and collected data on the type and prices of meals and gathered tissue samples taken from carcasses by establishment owners. A meta-barcoding approach (cytb and 12S mitochondrial DNA regions and Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing technology) was used to identify tissue samples to the species level. Two types of establishments can be distinguished – “restaurants” and “snack-bars”. Restaurants are similar to the ones found by previous works in the capital city where primate meat is sold as a dish containing few pieces of stewed meat. Snack-bars are smaller and the meat is sold inexpensively and by the piece. In the present study, 249 tissue samples were identified to be from four primates (Cercopithecus campbelli, Chlorocebus sabaeus, Papio papio, and Erythrocebus patas) and four Artiodactyla (Philantomba maxwellii, Tragelaphus scriptus, Potamochoerus porcus and Phacochoerus africanus). Primates represented approximately 92% of all species consumed across establishments, and C. campbelli was the most traded species. Our work suggests that primate meat is monetarily accessible for locals in rural areas and that the trade at Abafatórios may have extensive negative consequences to primate conservation, in particular, the reduction of primates' populations in the southern part of GB. Our work quantifies and identifies the species consumed in Abafatório establishments for the first time and highlights the need to improve regulation and law enforcement in Guinea-Bissau.

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          (View ORCID Profile)
          ARPHA Conference Abstracts
          Pensoft Publishers
          March 08 2021
          March 08 2021
          : 4
          © 2021


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