Consumption of bushmeat poses a serious threat to the survival of threatened species and to the health of local people. Many endangered species, such as pangolins, gibbons, and banteng, are largely being driven to extinction due to being over-hunted. Bushmeat also puts humans in close contact with wildlife making them susceptible to disease transmission and outbreaks. This project raises awareness of the health risks and ecological impacts associated with eating wild meat throughout Cambodia.
By putting humans in close contact with wild animals, bushmeat consumption creates a direct path for the transfer of zoonotic diseases - the main contributor to emerging infectious diseases. The Ebola, HIV, and SARS outbreaks have all been linked to bushmeat. As urban markets grow in Cambodia, so does the demand for wild meat. This not only poses a serious public health threat but is also causing many threatened species to be over hunted and is driving them nearer and nearer to extinction.
Wildlife Alliance's mobile environmental education team travels to all areas of Cambodia to teach students, teachers, and community members about the dangers of eating bushmeat. Raising awareness of the risk of disease from consuming bushmeat and the threat it poses to the country's wildlife is crucial to reduce demand. The Kouprey Express education team aims to change attitudes and behavior around bushmeat through community events, classroom lessons, and teacher trainings.
Since the Kouprey Express began in 2001, they have been extremely effective in bringing environmental education to rural and urban communities all across Cambodia. By changing attitudes toward bushmeat consumption, this project will help prevent the spread of zoonotic disease in Cambodia and help mitigate the threat that over-hunting poses to the country's many threatened species.