Game mammals of the Caatinga biome
Keywords:Animal Uses, Bushmeat, Ethnozoology, Hunting, Medicinal Animals
Mammals stand out among the main game animals of the world, being exploited by human beings for different ends, and being important for the subsistence of several communities. In semiarid environments, as in the Brazilian Caatinga biome, wild mammals have been exploited by the local human population, including endangered species. In this scenario, beyond biological research of the exploited animals, ethnozoological studies are important for supporting plans for the sustainable management and conservation strategies for the mammalian fauna of the semiarid landscape. This study aims to contribute to new research into the ethnomammalogy of this specific region. It provides a catalogue of the mammals and their ethnozoological importance, including a brief characterization of game mammals of the morphoclimatic domain of the Caatinga. The results show that at least 41 species of wild mammals interact with the population that lives in the semiarid region, as sources of products that can be used for the following purposes: food (31 species), medicinal (38 species), ornamental or decorative purposes (23 species), in magical/religious practices (31 species), and as pets (24 species). Twenty-five species are hunted because of concerns over personal safety or predation on livestock and pests. Among the recorded mammals, 13 (31.7%) are listed in some threatened category (Critically endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable). Hunting is one of the main factors contributing to this situation, which provides evidence that conservation strategies should consider the associated human needs, integrating cultural aspects of the local populations, and ecological aspects associated with the biodiversity of the region.