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The grasscutter shows why it is hard to stop bushmeat hunting

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The irresistible allure of rat on a platter

THE cane rat, a large, blunt-nosed version of its urban cousin, looks docile enough. But it has a taste for fingers. “You need skill to be able to handle them,” says Francis Ababio, who teaches students how to rear the rodents, also known as grasscutters, at Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. Grasscutter meat is a delicacy in the country’s cities and a part of rural diets. Digested grass found in its stomach is also said to make delicious soups.

Most grasscutter meat still comes from the wild. But conservationists and officials are trying to curtail bushmeat hunting because of concerns that it is wrecking the environment and upending food chains. The Ebola outbreak in 2014 dented demand, but some 579m forest mammals, from monkeys to porcupines, are eaten every year in central Africa, according to the UN. A study by Goethe University Frankfurt found that 39% of forests in the Congo Basin…

Source: Newslatest