A butcher chopping the horns off the severed head of a bushbuck as its carcass is butchered for sale as bushmeat in Atwemonom, the main bushmeat market, in Kumasi, Ghana on 7 September 2016. Horns are sold separately for the magical powers that some people believe that they possess.
It was the breeding season for many game animals, and a hunting ban was in force from 1 August to 1 December 2016 with the intention that populations be able to regenerate. Grasscutters (greater cane rats) were the only legal quarry. However, a variety of animals flowed through the market, including duiker, civet cats, wild pigs, mongooses, porcupines, francolins and pangolins.
Ghana’s bushmeat trade is estimated to be worth £105 million a year. Given a lack of current empirical data, it is hard to know how many wild animals are being killed to satisfy this demand, but between hunting and habitat loss it is clear that wildlife populations are declining precipitously. One estimate, now dated, posits that Ghana’s wildlife biomass has declined by three-quarters since the 1970s.