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In this paper we present the AWF conservation enterprise strategy that AWF is implementing across Africa in partnership with communities and the private sector to mitigate direct threats to wildlife conservation such as that from unsustainable use. This strategy gives wildlife economic value through building wide range of successful enterprises, usually involving private sector alliances, which then contribute directly to local livelihoods goals and create incentives for conservation.

The growing bushmeat trade is known to be a critical threat to effective wildlife conservation in western and central Africa, with more limited data available to suggest the same is true in east Africa. Where the trade involves endangered species or hunting in protected areas it is illegal, and in Kenya, for example, all consumptive use of wildlife is illegal. This element of illegality makes the extent and impact of the bushmeat trade very difficult to measure. Conservationists have implemented a wide range of strategies to deal with illegal wildlife consumption with different levels of success. These strategies range from law enforcement to supporting the development of economic alternatives.

This paper defines the AWF approach to conservation enterprise and provides examples of how these can be used to address drivers of the bushmeat trade. We conclude that conservation enterprise is a valuable economic strategy that can be used together with other strategies in a multidisciplinary approach to mitigate the drivers of the bushmeat trade.