Department of Anthropology and Geography, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UNITED KINGDOM.
Subsistence hunting has been identified as a global conservation issue not only for the stability of tropical ecosystems, but also for securing the long-term livelihood of local people. Little is known about the impact of subsistence hunting by indigenous people within protected areas and on indigenous land. This community-based research provides baseline information on the sustainability of hunting by two Tikuna indigenous communities overlapping Amacayacu National Park, Colombian Amazon. During 2005-2009, game species’ densities and biomasses were determined using transect sampling methods, with 2,262 km of census effort, while simultaneously monitoring the hunting rate of game species. A total of 2,101 prey items were hunted, corresponding to 49 species of vertebrates. The sustainability of hunting was calculated for the 10 most hunted species using qualitative as well as quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach included four models: density/standing biomass model, the production model, the stock-recruitment model and the unified-harvest model. The results suggested that eight game species were overhunted. Furthermore, primate biomass was significantly higher in the Tikuna community where a hunting ban for woolly monkeys has been applied (Mocagua 398 kg/km2; San Martin 199 kg/km2). In addition, I present a case study on the illegal trade in night monkeys for biomedical research in the Brazil-Colombia-Peru tri-border area. The implications of subsistence hunting for harvest-sensitive game species are discussed considering their life history traits and ecological constraints. Bearing in mind the importance that wildlife has in local people’s livelihoods, I present an ethnographic description of past and current hunting patterns by Tikunas in order to gain a better understanding of the factors underlying the current use of wildlife. Attempts to implement a management strategy for using natural resources in Amacayacu National Park had failed. This study highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach when designing management strategies. It also provides sustainable alternatives for the conservation of the overharvested species. Ultimately, the implementation of the proposed management strategy is only possible if local stakeholders are willing to take action. Thus, this study may be use as the baseline for its design.