Nutritional Status of Children as an Indicator of Bushmeat Utilization in Western Serengeti
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- Institutt for biologi 
Serengeti ecosystem supports great number of large mammals ranging from grazers, browsers and carnivores. Some of these animals migrate between seasonal water sources and grasslands. The human population in the western boundary of the park is currently high and increases at the rate of 4% per annum. Majority of local communities are subsistence farmers who derive their needs such as bush meat from the park. The purpose of the study was to test if bush meat utilization contributes to nutritional improvement of local communities around Serengeti National Park. Three villages were selected at random along a gradient of distance from Serengeti National Park and Lake Victoria and a control village from Dodoma Region in Tanzania. One hundred households were selected at random from each village and interviewed. Weight and height of children aged 3 to 12 years from the selected households were measured. Anthropometric data were analyzed by WHO AntrhoPlus software while questionnaires were analyzed by SPSS for windows version 18. The results revealed significant differences in the number of undernourished children from the villages which were in western Serengeti compared to the control village. Consumption of bushmeat was significantly higher in the villages which were close to the park compared to the village which was further away from the park. Fish consumption was higher than bushmeat in the village which was close to both park and Lake Victoria and negatively correlated with bushmeat meals, while consumption of livestock meat was higher in the control village. No significant relationship between nutritional status of children and number of bushmeat meals observed, but there was a negative relationship between nutritional status and distance from the park/lake and the price of bushmeat. The study also revealed significant relationship between level of education of the parent and the body mass index of the children.