CALL FOR PAPERS – Consuming wildlife – managing demand for wildlife products

The guest editors invite submissions to People and Nature covering novel research and approaches to managing demand for wildlife products, in particular: (1) understanding consumer preferences and choices, (2) design and implementation of behavior change interventions, and (3) impact evaluation of interventions aiming to influence consumers of wildlife products.

Prospective authors should submit a 300 word abstract together with a tentative title to Diogo Veríssimo (diogo.gasparverissimo@zoo.ox.ac.uk) for consideration. Full manuscripts must be submitted by the 31st of October 2019.

Latin American & Caribbean network to combat wildlife trafficking

The Brazilian Network to Combat Wildlife Trafficking – RENCTAS, is currently developing an International Campaign Against Wildlife Trafficking – ICAWT, which will launch in the coming months. This project aims to stimulate a collaborative network of local NGOs and Universities from Latin American and Caribbean countries to combat animal trafficking in the region.

The project will use an online platform and fora to connect different social segments of the region, as well as facilitate the exchange of information and the dissemination of initiatives on a global scale to increase overall awareness about the impact of the illegal wildlife trade on Latin American and Caribbean biodiversity.

Expected activities include (among others): a multi-faceted campaign to raise awareness about wildlife trafficking, a report on the use of social networks developing this criminal activity, replicative pilot conservation projects in collaboration with indigenous and riverside communities to promote land conservation.

RENCTAS is seeking local NGOs and Universities in Latin America and Caribbean to join initiative, as well as foreign partners to bring technical guidance to and share their experience and expertise. Please get in touch with Thiago Costa at thiago@renctas.org.br to engage and become a part of this network.

The Trade and Use of Giraffe Parts Survey

San Diego Zoo Global, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and OMP-IWT are conducting a trade assessment for giraffe following the recent proposals for listing the species on CITES Appendix II, and the findings of the 2018 Giraffe Conservation Symposium, which identified a key knowledge gap in this area. If you have expertise on this topic, please spare 15 minutes to complete our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q3FSMRF

UNEP-WCMC led TRADE Hub

The UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund is investing in 12 research hubs across the world over the next 5 years. One of these is the TRADE Hub, which aims to make trade a positive force for both people and nature conservation. The project, led by UNEP-WCMC and involving over 50 partner organisations including the University of Oxford, will study patterns of trade in wildlife, wild meat and agricultural goods to gain a more robust understanding of how different systems of trade affect biodiversity, with the aim of finding solutions for minimising these impacts. The TRADE Hub will focus its efforts primarily on eight countries: Brazil, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. More here.

Legal Atlas for Wildlife Trade

Legal Atlas provides a highly specialized and customizable legal intelligence platform that can be used to gain insight into the laws governing illicit activities, including wildlife trade by enabling the rapid and comprehensive compilation and comparison of applicable sanctions. It is currently supporting the WILDS project (researching how sanctions against IWT can better reflect impacts to society) and the Legis-Ape project (a legal systematic assessment for the conservation and protection of great apes and gibbons). Legal Atlas has also recently been used to review wildlife cybercrime law and the application of anti-money laundering laws to wildlife trade crimes supporting the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A Call to Saiga People

How anyone can help saigas, right now from their computer, without donating any money or major amounts of time?

Working in a saiga antelope consumer country I’ve become increasingly aware of one small truth, most consumers of saiga horn have never even heard of the word ‘saiga’. Now, this is none too surprising given the fact that saiga is the English common name (as well as Latin genus name), and many consumers do not speak English. But what may be surprising, is that many consumers in our study area, and beyond, have no idea what the animal is at all, let alone how the horns are procured, what countries it lives in, and what its conservation or trade status is. (FYI for soon-to-be converted saiga people, it’s a Critically Endangered antelope from Central Asia).

So how did this come to be? Especially given the fact that we live in a world where the globe is so interconnected on the internet, how is it that a consumer has no idea what product they’re buying?

It’s actually quite easy. If you are a consumer, you know of saiga only as ling yang (羚羊), a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) you purchase to treat ailments such as a fever or a cough. So when you search online for information regarding this medicine (what quantity to use, where to buy it, how effective it is), all you will ever see fed back to you is information from other sources referring to the product as ling yang.

Ling yangThus exists two parallel worlds. One with saiga, the ungulate under major poaching and disease impact, and one with ling yang, the medicinal product. And these non-overlapping realities just reinforce the gap between those interested in saiga versus ling yang.

How many other species live in such dichotomous perceptions? Where the consumer and conservationist view the same plant or animal in two entirely different ways, with little to no cross-over in information, discussion, or understanding. I can posit quite a few.

My call to saiga people the globe over is, therefore, to start integrating the pinyin and Chinese characters into everything: all saiga conservation and research webpages or posts that mention saiga horns as used in TCM, no matter the language. Our goal is for ling yang users to start seeing webpages, social media posts, and news about saiga, whenever they look up info on the horn as a medicine.

Combatting the entire issue of unsustainable demand will not, in truth, be solved by this little fix, but I would argue that it is a critical, and necessary, step to at least providing an opportunity for consumers to know more about the medicine in their medicine cabinet that we know of as saiga.

To help:

Add this text at least once to every webpage, and whenever possible in social media posts, when referring to saiga horn as a TCM product:  (ling yang, 羚羊)

As a note, ling yang in Chinese usually means just antelope (or wild antelope), but in the context of TCM, it is almost always referring to saiga antelope horns.

Sincerely,

A researcher working with ling yang consumers

#WILDEYE

Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism recently launched a new interactive geojournalism tool, #WILDEYEwhich is being used to track illicit wildlife trade throughout Europe by mapping seizures, arrests, court cases and convictions.

People Not Poaching

People Not Poaching, a Communities and IWT Learning Platform recently launched as a positive new initiative to foster learning and experience-sharing on supporting and engaging communities in initiatives to reduce poaching and IWT. It is a joint project between the IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and TRAFFIC.

Oxford Martin wildlife trade experts join UK government consortium on demand reduction

Researchers from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade have been invited by the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to take part in a new consortium of specialists in demand reduction and behaviour change, as part of efforts to tackle the global trade in illegal wildlife products.

New action plan to fight online trade in illegal wildlife products

The Global Wildlife Cybercrime Action Plan is aimed at improving co-ordination across the public and private to tackle the online trade in illegal wildlife products. The plan brings together a number of major organisations and expertise working on combating the illegal wildlife trade, including IFAW, INTERPOLOxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent, TRAFFIC and WWF.