Airdate: Apr 23, 2001
Scientist: John Robinson
Bush Meat: Mandrills
The mandrill is just one of the species that is put at risk by the "bush meat" trade.
ambience: Mandrill bark
We're in a tropical forest in Central Africa listening to the sounds of a species of primate called the mandrill. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
The mandrill is just one of the species that is put at risk by the bush meat trade - the practice of hunting wildlife for distribution and sale all over the world.
"There's certain groups of animals out there which are very, very susceptible to this kind of hunting."
John Robinson is a Vice President with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
"Animals which tend to move over very large areas, tend to move in large groups, frequently can be found by hunters and the hunters can have a huge impact on a large group in a very short period of time. Animals like mandrills, which perhaps will be moving through the forest in groups of two to three hundred animals, once the hunters find them, they can harvest, they can hunt out a goodly percentage of the animals in that group in a very short period of time. Other animals are less susceptible. Animals which tend to be very solitary frequently can avoid hunters much more systematically."
Mandrills are just beginning to be studied in the wild. Over the past five years, scientists have monitored groups of over a thousand of these colorful primates and it's the concern of conservationists that they will be wiped out because of their vulnerability to hunters. Right now, mandrills are classified as "near threatened," rather than "endangered," and John Robinson and his colleagues are working to ensure the future of this species.
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.