The smallest of the duikers in Congo, the blue duiker is a partially protected species in Congo. It is CITES-listed under Appendix II. This species was not protected before 2011, but was given protected status in order to regulate the trade in its meat, along with many other small game species. The blue duiker, along with the savanna-dwelling, slightly larger bush duiker, is classified as small game under the Arrêté n° 6075.
Commercial bushmeat is a huge pressure on Congo’s wildlife, yet duiker meat is found year-round in markets not just in forested areas, but across the Congo, and is even shipped internationally, against wildlife laws and health and safety regulations. Blue duikers are quite numerous in the forest, occupying relatively small territories, so forests are capable of carrying high population densities of this species. While not endangered, there are areas where the populations are so heavily hammered for commercial hunting that local extinctions are even possible. The populations of this most common antelope are resilient, but can only tolerate so much hunting before the populations crash. When even blue duikers have been wiped out of an area, it is a true sign that the area is becoming a “silent forest.”
Because of their small size, blue duikers are easy to transport whole and are often transported fresh out of the forest. Smoked meat is also popular, and this species finds itself in markets serving bushmeat fanatics in many parts of the world, far away from the Central African rain forests they were born in.
blue duiker © Hilde van Leeuwe (WCS);
blue duiker bushmeat © Naftali Honig (PALF)