From the forest to the coast: the wild meat trade chain on the Coast of Guyana


  • Nathalie van Vliet CIFOR
  • Anupana Puran Center for International Forestry Research
  • Oswin David Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission
  • Robert Nasi Center for International Forestry Research



In the Caribbean region, very little is known about wild meat use and trade. To contribute to this knowledge gap, we studied the wild meat trade chain on the coastal area of Guyana, which  geographically and culturally connects the Caribbean and the Amazon Region. In Guyana, the wildmeat sector is legal and in the process of being regulated. Our study shows that the market chain on the coast of Guyana is a short and direct market chain where the harvester most often sells directly to the consumer or through one level of intermediary (market vendors, home-based traders, roadside traders, restaurants, food stalls or rum shops). In coastal Guyana, wild meat can be considered a luxury, rather than a necessity: the price is higher compared to other alternative sources of meat and demand rises for special events. The topmost sold species are Cuniculus paca, Mazama americana, Tapirus terrestris, Dicotyles tajacu, Tayassu pecari, and Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. The volumes traded to the coast of Guyana are equivalent to 361 tons of wild meat sold per year. Considering the population size on the coast of Guyana, this amount is equivalent to 1,4 g/capita/day and 4% of the protein intake from animal origin. These values are below those observed in urban towns from Central Amazonia in Brazil where wild meat consumption per capita equals to 18 g/capita/day. From a one health perspective, further attention is required with regards to food safety aspects along this legal trade chain.


Chaber AL, Allebone‐Webb S, Lignereux Y, Cunningham AA, Marcus Rowcliffe J (2010) The scale of illegal meat importation from Africa to Europe via Paris. Conservation Letters 3:317-321. DOI:

Chausson AM, Rowcliffe JM, Escouflaire L, Wieland M, Wright JH (2019) Understanding the sociocultural drivers of urban bushmeat consumption for behavior change interventions in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo. Human Ecology 47:179-191. DOI:

Chaves WA, Wilkie DS, Monroe MC, Sieving KE (2017) Market access and wild meat consumption in the central Amazon, Brazil. Biological Conservation 212:240-248. DOI:

Cowlishaw G, Mendelson S, Rowcliffe JM (2005) Structure and operation of a bushmeat commodity chain in southwestern Ghana. Conservation Biology 19:139-149. DOI:

Doherty DA (2005) Hunting and the Implications for Mammals in Belize. University of California, Davis.

El Bizri HR, Morcatty TQ, Valsecchi J, Mayor P, Ribeiro JE, Vasconcelos Neto CF, Oliveira JS, Furtado KM, Ferreira UC, Miranda CFS, Silva CH, Lopes VL, Lopes GP, Florindo CCF, Chagas RC, Nijman V, Fa JE (2020) Urban wild meat consumption and trade in central Amazonia. Conservation Biology 34:438-448. DOI:

Fa JE, Ryan SF, Bell DJ (2005) Hunting vulnerability, ecological characteristics and harvest rates of bushmeat species in afrotropical forests. Biological Conservation 121:167-176. DOI:

Gibson L (2020) Bycatch of the Day: Wild Meat Consumption, Ecological Knowledge, and Symbolic Capital among Indigenous Maroon Parrot Hunters of Jamaica. Journal of Ethnobiology 40:167-182. DOI:

Gore ML, Mwinyihali R, Mayet L, Baku-Bumb GDM, Plowman C, Wieland M (2021) Typologies of urban wildlife traffickers and sellers. Global Ecology and Conservation 27:e01557. DOI:

Hallett MT, Kinahan AA, McGregor R, Baggallay T, Babb T, Barnabus H, Wilson A, Li, FM, Boone WW, Bankovich BA (2019) Impact of low-intensity hunting on game species in and around the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, Guyana. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7:412. DOI:

Ingram DJ, Coad L, Milner-Gulland EJ, Parry L, Wilkie D, Bakarr MI, Mohamed I, Benítez-López A, Bennett EL, Bodmer R, Cowlishaw G, El Bizri HR, Eves HE, Fa JE, Golden CD, Iponga DM, Minh NV, Morcatty TQ, Mwinyihali R, Nasi R, Nijman V, Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Pattiselanno F, Peres CA, Rao M, Robinson JG, Rowcliffe JM, Stafford C, Supuma M, Tarla FNi, van Vliet N, Wieland M, Abernethy K (2021) Wild meat is still on the menu: progress in wild meat research, policy, and practice from 2002 to 2020. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 46:221-254. DOI:

Iwamura T, Lambin EF, Silvius KM, Luzar JB, Fragoso JM (2014) Agent-based modeling of hunting and subsistence agriculture on indigenous lands: Understanding interactions between social and ecological systems. Environmental Modelling & Software 58:109-127. DOI:

James AM (2012) The Agouti of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Dasyprocta leporina.

Jones CB, Young J (2004) Hunting restraint by Creoles at the Community Baboon Sanctuary, Belize: a preliminary survey. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 7:127-141. DOI:

Lescuyer G, Nasi R (2016) Financial and economic values of bushmeat in rural and urban livelihoods in Cameroon: Inputs to the development of public policy. International Forestry Review 18:93-107. DOI:

Luiselli L, Petrozzi F, Akani GC, Di Vittorio M, Amadi N, Ebere N, Dendi D, Amori G, Eniang EA (2017) Rehashing bushmeat–interview campaigns reveal some controversial issues about the bushmeat trade dynamics in Nigeria. Revue d'Ecologie Terre et Vie 72:3-18. DOI:

MacDonald K (2016) "No trespassing": changing and contested rights to land in the Guyanese Amazon. Journal of Latin American Geography 59-82. DOI:

Nicholson DJ, Kanagavel A, Baron J, Durand S, Murray C, Tapley B (2020) Cultural association and its role in garnering support for conservation: the case of the Mountain Chicken Frog on Dominica. Amphibian and Repfile Conservafion 14:133-144.

Nielsen MR, Meilby H, Smith-Hall C (2016) How could the bushmeat trade in the Kilombero Valley of Tanzania be regulated? Insights from the rural value chain. Oryx 50:84-93. DOI:

Pacheco-Cobos L, Winterhalder B (2021) Ethnographic Observations on the Role of Domestic Dogs in the Lowland Tropics of Belize with Emphasis on Crop Protection and Subsistence Hunting. Human Ecology 49:779-794. DOI:

Parry L, Barlow J, Pereira H (2014) Wildlife harvest and consumption in Amazonia's urbanized wilderness. Conservation Letters 7:565-574. DOI:

Phelps J, Biggs D, Webb EL (2016) Tools and terms for understanding illegal wildlife trade. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14:479-489. DOI:

Read JM, Fragoso JM, Silvius KM, Luzar J, Overman H, Cummings A, Giey ST, Oliveira LF (2010) Space, place, and hunting patterns among indigenous peoples of the Guyanese Rupununi region. Journal of Latin American Geography 213-243. DOI:

Richards-Greaves G (2013) The Intersections of ‘Guyanese Food’and Constructions of Gender, Race, and Nationhood. Food and Identity in the Caribbean 75-94. DOI:

Shaffer CA, Milstein MS, Yukuma C, Marawanaru E, Suse P (2017) Sustainability and comanagement of subsistence hunting in an indigenous reserve in Guyana. Conservation Biology 31:1119-1131. DOI:

Shairp R, Veríssimo D, Fraser I, Challender D, MacMillan D (2016) Understanding urban demand for wild meat in Vietnam: implications for conservation actions. PloS one 11: e0134787. DOI:

van Vliet N, Nebesse CASIMIR, Gambalemoke S, Akaibe D, Nasi R (2012) The bushmeat market in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo: implications for conservation and food security. Oryx 46:196-203. DOI:

van Vliet N, Cruz D, Quiceno-Mesa MP, Aquino LJN, Moreno J, Ribeiro R, Fa J (2015a) Ride, shoot, and call: wildlife use among contemporary urban hunters in Três Fronteiras, Brazilian Amazon. Ecology and Society 20. DOI:

van Vliet N, Quiceno-Mesa MP, Cruz-Antia D, Tellez L, Martins C, Haiden E, Oliveira MR, Adams C, Morsello C, Valencia L, Bonilla T, Yagüe B, Nasi R (2015b) From fish and bushmeat to chicken nuggets: the nutrition transition in a continuum from rural to urban settings in the Tri frontier Amazon region. Ethnobiology and Conservation 4:1-12.

van Vliet N, Schulte-Herbruggen B, Vanegas L, Yair-Cuesta E, Sandrin F, Nasi R (2018) Wild animals (fish and wildmeat) contribute to dietary diversity among food insecure urban teenagers the case of Quibdó, Colombia. Ethnobiology and Conservation 7:1-15. DOI:

van Vliet N, Muhindo J, Nyumu JK, Nasi R (2019) From the forest to the dish: a comprehensive study of the wildmeat value chain in Yangambi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 132. DOI:

van Vliet N, Quiceno M, Moreno J, Cruz D, Fa JE, Nasi R (2017) Is urban bushmeat trade in Colombia really insignificant?. Oryx 51:305-314. DOI:

Wilk R (2005) Colonialism and wildlife in Belize. Belizean Studies 27:4-12.

Wilkie DS, Wieland M, Boulet H, Le Bel S, van Vliet N, Cornelis D, BriacWarnon C, Nasi R, Fa JE (2016) Eating and conserving bushmeat in Africa. African Journal of Ecology 54:402-414. DOI:




How to Cite

van Vliet, N., Puran, A., David, O., & Nasi, R. (2022). From the forest to the coast: the wild meat trade chain on the Coast of Guyana. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 11.



Original research article

Most read articles by the same author(s)