Case Study 1: Disentangling the interacting legal and illegal markets for bear bile in China

This case study includes both an on-the-ground study of the consumers and market for bear bile within China and an exploration of the online trade in bear products. It uses of a range of methods to describe and understand the complex, interacting markets for illegal and legal wildlife products.

It addresses the following questions:

  • What is the type and scale of the market for wild bile?
  • What is the type and scale of the market for farmed bile?
  • What are the interactions between these two markets?

The case study involves a survey targeted at key demographic groups, direct observations and the collation and use of secondary information for context. It will provide evidence for a report to the World Conservation Congress in 2020, following on from a recommendation passed in 2012 requiring this research to be carried out.

Researcher: Dr Amy Hinsley

Collaborators: Dr Brendan Moyle, Dr Dave Garshelis, Prof Vincent Nijman, Dr David Roberts, Dr Julio Hernandez Castro

Collaborating organisations: IUCN Bear Specialist Group, Massey University, Sun Yat-Sen University, University of Kent

Case Study 2: Consumer relationships with ivory and rhino horn as luxury products in Vietnam

While in the past the main markets for rhino horn and ivory were thought to be in China, it is now widely traded in Viet Nam, with rhino horn having luxury status as a health tonic for wealthy businessmen, while both are sold as artefacts such as bangles and carved pieces. Despite substantial investment of time and resources into tackling the demand for wildlife products in Viet Nam, there is still a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of different approaches, and limited understanding of the demographics and motivations of consumers.

The case study fills this gap, answering the following questions, using methods from marketing research to understand particularly the role of wildlife products as luxury brands:

  • What is the prevalence of consumption of rhino horn and ivory within an urban affluent demographic group, and through online sales?
  • What relationships do people have with rhino horn and ivory, compared to other luxury products?
  • What specific interventions are best suited to changing consumer behaviour?

Researcher: Vian Sharif

Collaborator: Dr Andreas Eisengerich

Collaborating organisation: Imperial College London

Case Study 3: Influencing sales of saiga products in Singapore

The aim of this case study is to demonstrate the power of the Medical Research Council’s intervention evaluation framework. The case study will enable us quantitatively to attribute impact to an intervention, by implementing an intervention based on a foundation of evidence, and then evaluating its impact. This gives the case study strong generalisability both within conservation and more broadly in the field of social policy.

We will answer the following questions:

  • How effective have wildlife demand reduction campaigns been in changing consumer behaviour?
  • What is the profile and characteristics of saiga product consumers in Singapore, and how do they respond to different approaches to changing behaviour?
  • Implementing an actual intervention, what measurable impact has this intervention had on consumer demand for saiga products?

Researcher: Hunter Doughty, Dr Diogo Veríssimo

Collaborators: Dr Roopali Raghaven, Dr Janice Lee, Dr Roman Carrasco, Nicholas Lim

Collaborating organisations: Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, National University Singapore

Case Study 4: Understanding shark, ray and songbird trade chains and characteristics in Indonesia

Indonesia is the world’s largest shark and ray fishery and the second highest country of globally-threatened bird species as well. The nature and magnitude of the domestic trade chains of sharks and rays as well as the characteristics of the demand for both songbirds and sharks are poorly understood. This case study involves understanding different stages of Indonesia’s sharks and rays trade chain, from exploitation to consumption, and including both legal and illegal trade. Moreover, an assessment of the current levels and characteristic of the demand for songbirds and sharks are included to inform conservation interventions and assess impacts.

Current research questions include:

  • What is the magnitude of illegal shark and ray trade in Indonesia, and how has illegal trade changed as a result of law enforcement?
  • Who are they key consumers of shark and songbird products, in Indonesia?
  • What are consumer characteristics and motivations, and how can we design behaviour change interventions to encourage responsible consumption?

Intelligence and law enforcement data will be collected and collated, and data will be collated and used to estimate the volume of the trade and the total size of the illegal trade network and its dynamic. Pertinent consumer groups will be identified and profiled, with data collected on their characteristics and motivations. Lessons learned from other demand influencing campaigns will be used to inform conservation strategy development.

Researchers: Yunita Setyorini, Nuruliawati

Collaborators: Dwi Adhiasto, Hollie Booth, Sofia Mardiah

Collaborating organisation: Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia

Case Study 5: Exploring the effective use of celebrities in wildlife demand reduction: changing perceptions of pangolins in Vietnam

Celebrities are often used to influence the public to change their awareness of, attitudes or behaviour towards illegal wildlife products. However, there is limited evidence about how effective this is and there has been no evaluation of how to design such campaigns to maximise their impact. This case study will provide an evidence base on how best to use celebrities to deliver messages on the illegal wildlife trade, drawing on experience in conservation and other fields. Adopting an experimental approach, this case study will develop a baseline on the consumption of pangolin products in Vietnam, examine the potential role that celebrity endorsement could play in reducing demand for illegal pangolin products in the country and test a celebrity-based demand reduction campaign. It will also explore the potential effects of pangolin farming on demand and on wild populations, and quantify online illegal trade in pangolin products. The results will inform Vietnamese and international policy-makers (e.g., CITES) and be transferable beyond conservation.

Specific research questions include the following:

  • What are the demographic profiles and characteristics of pangolin product consumers in Vietnam and what are the attitudes, motivations and preferences of key consumer groups?
  • What is the magnitude of illegal trade in pangolin products on the internet and via social media?
  • Implementing an actual intervention, what measurable impact has this intervention had on consumer demand for specific pangolin products?
  • What will be the effect of pangolin farming on demand and wild populations?

Researchers: Alegria Olmedo, Dr Dan Challender

Collaborators: Thai Van Nguyen, Elizabeth Duthie, Ting Ming Lee, Carly Waterman

Collaborating organisations: Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, Fauna & Flora International, Sun-Yat Sen University, Zoological Society of London

For further details, see the Pangolin Project Briefing Document