Wildlife trade in Somalia

  • Amir O
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Somali wildlife has never been well protected, and important habitats harbouring Somalia's biodiversity have been overexploited since the arrival of pastoralists at the Horn of Africa. On the other hand, the need for bush meat has always been low because 70% of Somali pastoral communities rely on domestic animals to satisfy their protein demand. Therefore, subsistence hunting occurred mainly during environmental disasters such as prolonged drought periods. Nonetheless, in northern and central Somalia, most big game such as elephant, giraffe and rhino became already extinct before World War II, owing to habitat alteration and overexploitation. At present, there are no functioning protected areas in Somalia, and wildlife conservation is basically non existent. Besides, the country has been ravaged by a prolonged civil war and divided into numerous zones which are controlled by warlords, giving rise to an indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. An initial objective of the survey was to reassess the presence of the Bulo-burte bush shrike, Laniarius liberatus along the riverbank of the Shabelle river, between Middle Shabelle and Hiran region. Further the survey aimed to assess the general impact of wildlife trade to the fauna in southern Somalia. However, the fighting between warlords and the Union of Islamic Courts, which now almost control whole of southern Somalia, have escalated in Mogadishu during the survey and the war spread all over the Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions. Therefore, it was impossible to go beyond the North of Mogadishu because these areas became an escape route for the Mogadishu defeated warlords and battle ground for both militias. It is hoped to rediscover and approve the remaining existence of Laniarius liberatus at a later and peaceful state within its potential distribution range.

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  • Osman G Amir

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