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Wild meat trade over the last 45 years in the Peruvian Amazon

Mayor, Pedro and El Bizri, Hani R. and Morcatty, Thais Q. and Moya, Kelly and Bendayán, Nora and Solis, Samantha and Vasconcelos Neto, Carlos F. A. and Kirkland, Maire and Arevalo, Omar and Fang, Tula G. and Pérez‐Peña, Pedro E. and Bodmer, Richard E. (2022) 'Wild meat trade over the last 45 years in the Peruvian Amazon.', Conservation Biology, 36 (2). e13801.


The trade in wild meat is an important economic component of rural people's livelihoods, but it has been perceived to be among the main causes of the decline of wildlife species. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light an additional concern of wildlife markets as a major human-health challenge. We analyzed data from the largest longitudinal monitoring (1973–2018) of the most important urban wild-meat markets in Iquitos, Peru, to examine the trends in and impacts of these markets on people's livelihoods. Over the last 45 years, wild meat sales increased at a rate of 6.4 t/year (SD 2.17), paralleling urban population growth. Wild meat sales were highest in 2018 (442 t), contributing US$2.6 million (0.76%) to the regional gross domestic product. Five species of ungulates and rodents accounted for 88.5% of the amount of biomass traded. Vulnerable and Endangered species represented 7.0% and 0.4% of individuals sold, respectively. Despite growth in sales, the contribution of wild meat to overall urban diet was constant: 1–2%/year of total meat consumed. This result was due to greater availability and higher consumption of cheaper meats (e.g., in 2018, poultry was 45.8% cheaper and was the most consumed meat) coupled with the lack of economic incentives to harvest wild meat species in rural areas. Most wild meat was sold salted or smoked, reducing the likelihood of foodborne diseases. Community-based wildlife management plans and the continued trade bans on primates and threatened taxa may avoid biodiversity loss. Considering the recent COVID-19 pandemic, future management plans should include potential viral hosts and regulation and enforcement of hygiene practices in wild-meat markets.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date accepted:22 June 2021
Date deposited:02 December 2021
Date of first online publication:27 August 2021
Date first made open access:02 December 2021

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