The hunting of wild animals and the consumption of bushmeat constitutes one of the major drivers of animal diversity loss in the tropics, especially in west and central Africa. At the same time, bushmeat remains of extreme importance for the livelihoods and the nutrition of millions of people. Hunting-induced changes in wildlife community structure and composition are detrimental with knock-on impacts that can potentially initiate trophic downgrading of the entire ecosystem and alter its resilience to current and future climatic fluctuations. While limited conservation outcomes have been achieved through conventional international agency-based approaches, a new paradigm in wildlife management has emerged that puts hunters and other stakeholders at the heart of resource management instead of excluding them. However, we still lack practical tools and indices to implement and steward such participatory approaches and management. Here, we propose a conceptual framework to disentangle species and community response to hunting. We tested it along a gradient of hunting pressure in eastern Gabon, ranging from highly hunted areas in the vicinity of villages to almost undisturbed and pristine areas. Using species community composition data from camera traps combined with long-term offtake surveys, we identified the loser and winner species of current hunting regimes. We discuss the application of this framework in the light of the development of sustainable hunting practices and indicators. Finally, we propose recommendations to improve community-led hunting management in Central Africa and pave the way for future research.
hunting,camera trap, sustainable hunting indicator, wildlife community-led management