11 August 2014

Nigeria: Ebola - Cross River Hunters Record Business Lull

Photo: Staton Winter/UN
A patient in Liberia receives treatment for Ebola (file photo).

Hunters in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, where bush meat is largely sourced, say they are facing hard times because of lack of patronage.

The hunters told newsmen yesterday that bush meat consumers in the state have stopped patronising them for fear of contracting the Ebola virus.

They said they were now afraid of venturing into the bush in search of animals, because of the virus which could be transmitted to humans by fruit bats, monkeys and apes.

Mr Basil Edum, a retired soldier who has being hunting for 13 years, said the outbreak of Ebola virus in Nigeria has badly affected business.

"I have been in this hunting business since I retired from the Nigeria Army 13 years ago, but because of the Ebola outbreak, I have stopped hunting for now. The Ebola virus has affected our hunting business; my customers no longer demand for bush meat because everyone is scared of eating bush meat now. Hunting has been a lucrative business for me because I don't shoot and miss. I use to kill at least two grass cutters every night," he said.

Another hunter, Mr Kenneth Abang, said everybody in the area is now aware of the danger of the virus and the situation has forced him to stop hunting.

Abang appealed to government to organise awareness programmes to enable the people to know more about the virus.

A meat seller, Mrs Elizabeth Odok, also lamented the situation, describing it as very serious.

"People now laugh at me, when they see me with meat, as if I am carrying poison," Odok said.

A resident, Mr Lawrence Mpama, said: "I used to be a good consumer of bush meat but now I go for either cow meat or fresh fish."


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