Why hunt: the socio-ecological drivers and ecological consequences of bat hunting in an Afrotropical system

dc.contributor.committeeChairKingston, Tigga
dc.contributor.committeeMemberMcIntyre, Nancy
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPhilips, Caleb
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGrisham, Blake
dc.contributor.committeeMemberWagner, Brandon
dc.creatorObitte, Benneth
dc.description.abstractAnthropogenic activities continue to imperil species globally, with overexploitation as a leading cause of extinction. The need for evidence-based conservation interventions is increasingly urgent as human disturbance pushes species toward extinction across the tropics. To mitigate these impacts, it is critical to understand the socio-ecological drivers and their specific effects. Hunting of cave-dwelling Egyptian fruit bats in southern Nigeria exemplifies these complex dynamics. This dissertation takes an interdisciplinary approach to diagnosing the complex socio-ecological dynamics surrounding bat hunting and consumption in southern Nigeria. It integrates perspectives from ecology, conservation, and behavioral science to provide a systems analysis. Chapter 1 introduces the intense hunting of the cave-dwelling Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) in southeast Nigeria, highlighting conservation concerns. Chapter 2 quantifies hunting pressure across caves and models the drivers of cave use. Findings show hunting pressure alters cave bat distributions, with implications for populations and zoonotic spillover risks. A hunting threshold is identified beyond which bats abandon caves. Chapter 3 reveals a bat-hunting apprenticeship system influencing community norms and self-efficacy of hunters, suggesting that economic motivations alone do not fully explain hunting. Social learning and leader opinions strongly shape participation. Chapter 4 applies the Theory of Planned Behavior to identify key drivers of bat meat consumption intentions. Taste preferences and community leaders' influence most strongly predict intentions. Overall, this dissertation provides a model for diagnosing multifaceted exploitation dynamics across taxa. By highlighting the sociocultural dimensions of hunting practices, this work contributes to a nuanced understanding of conservation challenges and calls for an integrated approach to wildlife management in Afrotropical systems.
dc.description.abstractEmbargo status: Restricted until 01/2027. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.
dc.rights.availabilityRestricted until 01/2027.
dc.subjecthunting apparatus
dc.subjectRousettus aegyptiacus
dc.subjectBat hunting
dc.subjectStructural Equation Model
dc.subjectOne Health
dc.subjectcave roost
dc.subjectBat conservation
dc.titleWhy hunt: the socio-ecological drivers and ecological consequences of bat hunting in an Afrotropical system
thesis.degree.departmentBiological Sciences
thesis.degree.grantorTexas Tech University
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy


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