This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Mayilanews. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Mammals, reptiles, birds, … In the Mayombe forest, the game production machine has been running at full speed since the RN1 was put into service in 2011. But the meat is hunted illegally, even in the face of wildlife protection institutions.
Two hamlets about four kilometers apart. We are in the vicinity of the village of Les Saras, in the heart of the lush Mayombe forest in the Kouilou region, some 90 kilometers east of Pointe-Noire, the economic capital of Congo-Brazzaville.
If Les Saras owes its fame to its banana production, the two hamlets are now the "big meat market." African antherures or porcupines, pangolins, blue duikers (commonly called gazelle), duikers with black backbands called or red antelope, birds of prey, iguanas […]. Fresh, smoked, or alive, here, no species is missing from the racks erected at the edge of the roadway of the National Road Number 1 (RN1).
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
Since the opening of the RN1 in 2011, Mayombe attracts hunters, traders, restaurateurs, in short all those who are part of the value chain of the meat sector. "I used to be a mechanic. But the activity did not bring in much. That's why I settled here," admits Ange*, one of the big meat traders in the area.
(*) assumed name.