October 4 is marked internationally as World Animal Day to take action for animal rights and welfare.
Animals are a large part of the Ghanaian community and ecosystem hence the need to protect their being no matter how wild or dangerous they are.
While protection is a key factor in animal welfare, some animals have served as meals to humans from Adam, while others have been regarded as inedible. The list of animals that can be eaten keeps getting shorter over decades considering extinction and spread of diseases among species.
In Ghana, some animals considered wild are only eaten in a few regions as delicacies. According to experts, many of these animal foods are highly nutritious, extremely rich in proteins (66 percent), lipids (37 percent), essential amino acids, potassium and phosphorus.
GhanaWeb takes a look at some 10 uncommon animal delicacies eaten by Ghanaians.
While many Ghanaians keep cats as domestic pets in their homes, some people largely eat cat meat with others disagreeing with the idea that cats are domestic pets which should not be eaten because of their relationship to humans. Cats are predominantly eaten by people in Volta Region and other forest regions.
Often identified as scary creatures to many, these winged mammals are hunted and eaten by some Ghanaians and are mostly sighted around the 37 Military Hospital in Accra. They are also populated in the Eastern Region where there are caves that serve as shelter for them. People in this region and central Ghana normally consider bats as delicacies.
While very dangerous and scary to most, snakes are considered to be a favourite for some Ghanaians who say they taste like fish. These are either served well-seasoned, roasted or fried. They are mostly eaten by forest dwellers and people in the northern part of the country.
Known as man’s best friend and a domestically popular animal, many in certain parts of the country eat dog meat as a delicacy. In Ghana’s northern and upper regions, dog meat is a very popular delicacy sold even in markets.
African Palm Weevil
Some Ghanaians have long depended on insects to supplement their diets and the African Palm Weevil is a fat worm found in palm trees. It serves as a popular source of protein that is squirmed out of the forests and unto the plates at popular restaurants.
Usually fried with palm oil, locusts are smoked or dried and have been said to be good for protein for many.
This is said to be a favourite among some Ghanaian children who delight in hunting them down. Once they are found, they are either fried, salted, sun-dried and eaten.
Considered as a ‘snack’ in some parts of the country and found mostly during the rainy season, they are collected, washed, salted and roasted to the delight of eaters.
Many take pleasure in hunting for crickets which is mostly to be fried or roasted with pepper. It is said to comprise of around 60 percent in protein and are a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium. They can be eaten sweet, savory or fried.
Savannah Monitor Lizard
Popular known as “Mampam,” this lizard is readily sold and eaten in some parts of the country. They are also available in the pet trade business in West African countries mainly in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria and exported worldwide.