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“At 23:56 on 23rd October 1963, Zambians rose in reverence of the Union Jack, the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom, for the last time as it lowered, signifying the end of British rule in Zambia.”

― Precious Mwansa-Chisa

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Do you know the real risks of illegal bushmeat?

A new public campaign launched in December 2017 finally exposes the truth:

it’s illegal, it’s dangerous and it carries diseases.

Choose legal game meat you can trust.

The next time you are offered “nyama yamu sanga” at a special occasion or a friend’s house, you need to know something before you accept: illegal bushmeat is unregulated, unhygienically prepared and dangerous to eat. Unsuspecting members of the public who consume this unsafe product are at risk from several diseases. Illegal traders often misrepresent and sell meat as a preferred species (e.g. buffalo or impala) when it could be any number of species that have been illegally caught (e.g. zebra, hyena or even dog).

Poachers captured by DNPW officers

Illegal possession of wild meat carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison under the Zambia Wildlife Act 2015. The illegal bushmeat trade has been reported as the biggest threat to wildlife populations in Zambia and the region, even over and above the ivory and rhino horn trade. Killing methods such as snaring are silent and indiscriminate, harming many species of our Zambian wildlife.

Economically, this illegal trade threatens national parks and undermines the potential growth of the tourism and legal game farming industry, seen in our neighboring countries such as South Africa and Namibia to provide jobs, income and opportunities for the re-generation of wildlife populations to restock national parks.

Join the movement against this dangerous trade threatening our nation. When offered bushmeat ask for legal papers to prove its origin. Choose only legal game meat to be safe and support our Zambian wildlife populations.

What can you do to be part of the movement?

Next time you are offered bushmeat ask for legal licenses

Report anything suspicious to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife

Choose legal game meat suppliers (for details visit )

Share this message through social media #ThisIsNotAGame #IChooseLegalGame

Illegal game meat hidden in trunk

This Is Not A Game

This Is Not A Game is a social marketing campaign from Wildlife Crime Prevention working in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. The campaign’s creative partners are Adlab McCann and Giraffe Media Productions. This Is Not A Game is funded by the Lion Recovery Fund through Wildlife Crime Prevention and works with many other stakeholders in the field. It is the culmination of years of scientific work to better understand the illegal bushmeat trade in Zambia and its impacts on both people and wildlife.

The Illegal Bushmeat Trade

The illegal bushmeat trade refers to the illegal, commercial and unsustainable trade in wildlife meat. As populations rise and become more urbanized the bush meat trade is becoming increasingly unsustainable, causing profound eco-system collapse. Killing methods such as snaring are silent and indiscriminate, harming species across the board from ungulates to carnivores and elephants. Further, the devastating reduction in prey species numbers has an immediate effect on threatened carnivore populations in protected areas. Populations of wildlife in some protected areas are alarmingly low and uncontrolled illegal hunting could easily result in the loss of several keystone species. Illegal hunting is also a threat to the wildlife heritage of African countries and to tourism and game farming based sources of employment.

The Law on Illegal Bushmeat

The illegal possession of bushmeat is a crime under the Zambia Wildlife Act 2015:

Illegal possession of wild meat or trophy (e.g. Buffalo, Impala, Duiker): K 90 – 180,000 or up to 7 years imprisonment (section 129)

Illegal possession of meat or trophy of protected animal (e.g. Eland, Roan, Sable, Elephant, Rhino, Pangolin, etc) 5 – 10 years imprisonment (section 130)

The journey of illegal bushmeat: from poacher to plate.

Here are some things you should know about the bushmeat trade. Consider this before your next purchase.

Game meat poisoning victim in hospital

Where does the meat come from?

In Zambia, most poachers use homemade, muzzle-loading shotguns and hunt near their homes travelling on foot or by bicycle. Most are motivated by a need for some sort of income and will sell the bushmeat commercially to traders in the closest town. However the activity is dangerous, poachers risk encounters with wild animals as well as arrest by DNPW officers but suffer from a lack of employment options from legal alternatives. This is a vicious cycle which must be disrupted. Illegal activities must be deterred in order to make space for sustainable legal industry for these vulnerable communities.

Bushmeat comes from protected areas all over Zambia. Poachers enter national parks and their surrounding areas hunting indiscriminately. The tools of the trade include wire snares and any other tools that can be easily acquired. Sometimes meat is harvested from animals that died of disease or that were rotting in a snare. You cannot trust that poached meat is safe for consumption.

The meat could come from anywhere and be anything

The poacher kills an animal and carries it back to his village or camp in the bush. Here he skins and butchers it possibly using rusty old knives then preserves the meat by smoking and drying it out on a very basic drying rack. Meat is smoked and dried in the most unsanitary of conditions. The processing of the meat is unhygienic and often different cuts from different species are mixed together indiscriminately. Law enforcement officers report poachers urinating on the meat to disguise the smell of the rotting meat.

This meat of various animals caught (confiscated piles have been reported as including lion, pangolin, hyena) is usually stockpiled and sold to traders in bulk. The meat is smuggled into Lusaka. Smoking and drying makes it easier to transport but harder to identify. There are high chances that the meat you eat is contaminated. The meat is hidden in luggage or amongst other products such as charcoal bags or sacks of maize to avoid detection.

The illegal bushmeat trade also fuels corruption. Small amounts are transported by public transport and larger amounts by private cars and trucks. When a trader buys the bushmeat from a poacher there is no certifiable way of identifying what animal the meat could have come from. Traders are aware that unauthorized bushmeat possession is illegal so they conceal it in bags of charcoal or agricultural produce to avoid being apprehended by the authorities. Sometimes the trader travels for many days and all the while the bushmeat would be in the boot of vehicles, deep in whatever produce it was hidden in. The bushmeat is then smuggled to other places by either private or public transport.

Finally, after days of keeping the bushmeat in the boot of vehicles or in unclean trucks, it is sold to a customer. There are so many diseases that can and have resulted from eating illegal bushmeat, including anthrax as reported in 2011 from hippo meat.

So next time, please remember: This Is Not A Game. Choose legal game meat you can trust.

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