Intake of bushmeat produced a positive outcome on children's nutrition, raising complex questions on the trade-offs between human health and environmental conservation, states a new report. The new study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
They further estimated that a loss of access to wildlife as a source of food - either through stricter enforcement of conservation laws or depletion of resources - would lead to a 29 percent jump in the number of children suffering from anemia. Among children in the poorest households, the researchers added, there would be a three-fold increase in the incidence of anemia. Left untreated, anemia in children can impair growth and cognitive development.
The findings are to be published the week of Nov. 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"When thinking of creating protected areas for diversity, policymakers need to take into consideration how that will impact local people, both in livelihoods and from a health perspective," said study lead author Christopher Golden, who did the research while a graduate student in UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and at the School of Public Health. "We need to find ways to benefit the local population in our conservation policies, not hurt them."