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Wild meat alternatives projects addressing unsustainable hunting by providing alternative foods to wild meat are commonplace across many parts of the Global South. However, understanding their possible conservation and social outcomes prior to implementation is vital, to ensure that they are well designed, that scarce funds are correctly directed, and that the intended outcomes of the project are achievable. We used scenario-based interviews to explore the potential effects of six hypothetical wild meat alternatives projects in Cameroon on household rates of hunting and consumption over five years. We conducted 171 interviews across four rural villages around the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, and investigated how the alternative food offered, the addition of income-generating opportunities, and the scale at which the project was implemented would affect people's willingness and ability to participate. Predicted household rates of hunting and consumption reduced the most under wild meat alternatives projects that offered both food and income-generating activities. However, this depends on the project being offered at the household, rather than the community, level. Community-level wild meat alternatives projects only resulted in marginal reductions in hunting and consumption compared to the current baseline and, as such, in this study area community-level projects are unlikely to achieve their intended conservation goals. These results illustrate the importance of effective dialogue with communities to explore not only their preferences, but also the characteristics of preferred and successful wild meat alternatives projects, before the project design is finalized and implemented. Our findings provide an understanding of the characteristics of wild meat alternatives projects preferred by communities around the Dja Faunal Reserve, using a generalisable approach. We identify factors that may undermine the success of wild meat alternatives projects in rural areas, and provide guidance to conservation practitioners seeking to develop similar projects in future.

Original publication




Journal article


Conservation Science and Practice



Publication Date





livelihoods, conservation planning, Bushmeat, FFR, Africa