Hunting and eating virus-ridden bats is a bad idea, who knew?
Bushmeat is believed to be the origin of the current Ebola outbreak. The first victim’s family hunted bats, which carry the virus. Could the practice of eating bushmeat, which is popular across Africa, be responsible for the current crisis?
The origin has been traced to a two-year-old child from the village of Gueckedou in south-eastern Guinea, an area where batmeat is frequently hunted and eaten.
The infant, dubbed Child Zero, died on 6 December 2013. The child’s family stated they had hunted two species of bat which carry the Ebola virus.
Bushmeat or wild animal meat covers any animal that is killed for consumption, principally chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats and monkeys. It can even include porcupines, rats and snakes.
In some remote areas it is a necessary source of food – in others it has become a delicacy.
In Africa’s Congo Basin, people eat an estimated five million tonnes of bushmeat per year, according to the Centre of International Forestry Research.