When the Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has, by proclamation, banned the export of wild animals and bush meat products from the country, Jebbah Sherman, a bushmeat seller and exporter, literally hit the roof in frustration, disbelief and then sheer anger set in.
“...Oh, my God! I can’t believe this! The president can not do this! That’s how I get my daily bread by sending bush meat to my daughter in American to sell for me and is able to pay my children’s tuition..”
The ban, according to a Foreign Ministry release, shall also remain effective pending the passage of a proposed legislation to be submitted to the Legislature. It is here that bushmeat sellers could lobby to save their trade.
The release also said the ban is intended to help preserve the country’s wide life as certain species could disappear if not protected. The proclamation is in consonance with the Act Adopting the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006 which deals with management of wide life.
Whatver the rationale,, bush-meat has long played a role in the livelihoods of people living in tropical forest and savannah areas. For many rural people, bushmeat is not only an important source of animal protein in their diets, but it may also increasingly be a key component of their livelihoods in providing flexible cash incomes from its sale to traders and local consumers.
According to data and Internet sources, a prevailing characteristic of the bush-meat trade is that it is generally informal and frequently illegal. This makes accurate estimates of the size and importance of the bushmeat trade difficult to accomplish. However, some data are available, for example from West and Central Africa, which suggest that bushmeat is significant both in terms of trade and nutrition.
In Liberia, it is estimated the bushmeat trade to be worth more than the timber trade, meaning a void has been created in the economy that should be filled. Other estimates of the bushmeat trade have been made for the following countries: