Motivations for sharing bushmeat with an urban diaspora in Indigenous Australia
The hunting and trade of bushmeat is a significant issue. The sharing of marine bushmeat between Australian Torres Strait Islanders and their mainland urban diaspora was documented from a diaspora perspective by collecting quantitative and qualitative data from communities in three mainland cities. Motivations for sharing dugong and turtle meat were almost exclusively cultural and mostly occurred when a diaspora member visited Torres Strait, when Torres Strait Islanders visited their mainland family, during Islander ceremonies, or when goods were exchanged as gifts. Each respondent consumed relatively little dugong and turtle meat (<1-2% of annual meat consumption, or < 1 kg per person per annum). Sharing bushmeat strengthened social capital and reinforced cultural identity. Harnessing the social capital generated from the sharing of bushmeat to engage the urban diaspora in dugong and turtle management activities in the Torres Strait could enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of such initiatives.