Anoa ecology and conservation in Buton, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
Bushmeat hunting is one of the main threats to large forest mammals in the tropics. The lowland anoa (Bubalus depressicornis) is an endangered dwarf buffalo species endemic to the Sulawesi island group. This study aims to carry out an in-depth investigation into anoa hunting in the Lambusango reserve, Central Buton, Southeast Sulawesi. A preliminary village survey has reported a minimum of 24 anoa hunted from the Lambusango forests in the past three years, well above estimates of sustainable hunting rates from population modeling. Concurrent distribution surveys show declines in the species’ range. Clearly hunting is a problem but one that is poorly understood. Understanding the anoa hunting system, local human behavior patterns and the underlying socio-economic factors driving the bushmeat trade is crucial to dealing with the threat of hunting and engaging the community in combating further decline of anoa populations. Detailed semi-structured and unstructured interviews with hunters and bushmeat consumers will be used to investigate hunter behavior and the social, cultural and economic basis of hunting in the Lambusango area. These will be combined with ongoing population and distribution assessments to create conservation and management recommendations for the anoa in Lambusango and beyond.