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Seasonal incidence, sex-ratio, and population cohorts of hinge-back tortoises (genus Kinixys) in the wild and in bush-meat markets of the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria: are human predation effects random?



Seasonal incidence, sex-ratio, and population cohorts of hinge-back tortoises (genus Kinixys) in the wild and in bush-meat markets of the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria: are human predation effects random?



Revue d'Ecologie la Terre et la Vie, 582: 243-248



Three species of hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys billion nogueyi, Kinixys erosa, and Kinixys homeana) are found in the forest-plantation mosaics of the Niger Delta region, in south-eastern Nigeria. where they are actively hunted by local people communities for subsistence and traditional medicine. In this paper, the numbers of tortoises traded in bush-meat markets is contrasted to the numbers of tortoises found in the wild, to test whether the pressure of human hunters is random, or if it is biased towards a specific sex, population cohort (adults or juveniles), or monthly period. We concluded that: (1) the relative monthly intensity of above-ground activity of tortoises strongly influenced the relative monthly numbers of traded specimens in the bush-meat markets; (2) the pressure of local people on free-ranging tortoises is similar to that of a generalist predator, without apparent differences between species or sexes; (3) the juveniles of both K. homeana and K. erosa were the only category of animals which were not preyed upon by humans depending on their local availability.

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