Our current case studies
Oxford Researcher: Dr Amy Hinsley
There is extensive debate over the use of legal, farmed wildlife products to reduce demand for wild products, and the case of bear bile farming in China has been particularly controversial. This case-study sought to better understand the current market for farmed and wild bear bile by carrying out in-depth research into the behaviour and motivations of the people who consume, sell, and prescribe bear bile in China. From 2018-2020, we used large-scale surveys with members of the public, interviews with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors and pharmacy workers, and in-depth surveys with bear bile consumers to investigate their preferences for different products.
Specific project objectives included:
An additional objective was added in early 2021, when we ran a follow-up project (funded by a DEFRA IWT Challenge Fund Rapid Response COVID-19 grant) to determine the best strategies for reducing illegal wildlife use in TCM post-COVID-19. Using our original study as a baseline, we looked at whether bear bile and other animal-based medicine consumption had changed during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, and held co-design workshops with consumers, TCM doctors and pharmacy workers to design evidence-based strategies to reduce demand for wild bear bile and other illegal wildlife-based medicines.
Collaborators: Professor Tien Ming Lee (Sun Yat Sen University), Dr Mike Hoffman (IUCN SSC), Dr Xiangdong Ruan (Academy of Forest Inventory and Planning, National Forestry and Grassland Administration), Dr Dave Garshelis (IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group), Mr Yingjie Qiu (China Association of TCM), Dr Brendan Moyle (Massey University)
Collaborating organisations: IUCN Bear Specialist Group, Massey University, Sun Yat-Sen University, , Academy of Forest Inventory and Planning, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, China Association of TCM
Thanks to the generous support of:
The Oxford Martin School and the DEFRA IWT Challenge Fund
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 seeks to provide an evidence base on how best to use celebrities to deliver messages on the illegal wildlife trade, drawing on empirical evidence from in conservation and other fields. This case study seeks to provide an evidence base on how best to use celebrities to deliver messages on the illegal wildlife trade, focusing on reducing pangolin meat consumption in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. For further details, see the Pangolin Project Briefing Document.
Specific project objectives include:
Other research outputs associated with this project:
And a selection of media outputs:
Thanks to the generous support of:
The National Geographic Society and the Oxford Martin School
Oxford Researcher: Melissa Arias, Dr Amy Hinsley, Yuhan Li
In recent years, evidence suggesting an upsurge of trade in jaguar (Panthera onca) body parts to supply domestic and international markets has emerged throughout Latin America. Despite gaining significant media and policy attention, there is still limited understanding on the scale, drivers and characteristics of this threat to Latin America’s most iconic wild cat.
This case study aims to fill this knowledge gap and support decision-making to address jaguar trade by:
Other outputs associated with this case study as part of broader collaborations with other organizations and authors include:
And a few blogs:
Data collection was based in Mesoamerica and Bolivia, in order to distinguish regional differences in the jaguar trade chain and market dynamics. Bringing together theories and methodologies from the social and natural sciences, including direct and indirect questioning techniques, interviews, online trade surveys, and literature reviews, this research will provide a comprehensive understanding of jaguar trade while also providing insights on the role of evidence within illegal wildlife trade.
Collaborating organisations: Wildlife Conservation Society Mesoamerica, San Diego Zoo, Asociación Boliviana para la Investigación y Conservación de Ecosistemas Andino‐Amazónicos (ACEAA), Colección Boliviana de Fauna
Thanks to the generous support of the:
Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (SENESCYT), Wildlife Conservation Society Christensen Conservation Leaders Scholarship, Wildlife Conservation Network, Society of Conservation Biology Rufford Foundation, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, St. Cross College, University of Oxford, and the Society of American Mammalogists.
Oxford Researcher: Rodrigo Oyanedel
Reducing non-compliance is key to sustaining the ecological, social and economic ecosystem services that natural resources provide. The impacts of non-compliance are especially acute in small-scale resource users, which usually involve poor management and limited enforcement capacity. In the context of fisheries, small-scale fishing non-compliance has been linked to the collapse of fishing stocks and habitat destruction. Dealing with non-compliance is thus necessary, particularly as small-scale communities are often highly dependent on natural resources as a source of livelihood. Reducing non-compliance in small-scale users is therefore a key challenge for conserving biodiversity worldwide while maintaining livelihood.
This is an issue of great importance in Chile. It is one of the largest producers of marine products in the world, with average landings of 3.1 million tonnes between 2005-2014. Fisheries management in Chile, although progressive in the application of innovative and science-based schemes, suffers from chronic non-compliance. Increasing compliance in Chile’s fisheries is urgent for improving the sustainability of the sector and maintaining small-scale fishers livelihoods. Furthermore, lessons from this case-study can be used to advance our understanding of non-compliance issues in small-scale resource use more broadly.
For this case-study, we have:
Motivations for (non-)compliance with conservation rules by small-scale resource users. Conservation Letters. 2020; 13:e12725. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12725, , .
Currently, we are working on the development of a model to analyse enforcement data in Chile, to assess whether this source of information can provide insights into where illegality might concentrate, by disentangling co-founding factors and biases. We hope that this line of work will inform how to use this type of data in marine systems and beyond.
Collaborator: Stefan Gelcich
Collaborating organisation: Universidad Catolica de Chile
Oxford Researcher: Dr Vian Sharif
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:
Collaborator: Dr Andreas Eisengerich
Collaborating organisation: Imperial College London
Oxford Researchers: Dr Hunter Doughty, Dr Diogo Veríssimo, Dr Joss Wright
A plethora of demand reduction efforts on wildlife trade products are carried out each year across the globe, however, shortcomings in interventions attempting to change consumers’ behaviour have been widely noted. In other disciplines like public health though, behaviour change interventions have been extensively implemented and offer useful insights for increasing the success of wildlife trade interventions. As such, we designed, implemented, and evaluated an evidence-based behaviour change intervention that applies robust approaches from outside of conservation science. We targeted saiga horn (marketed as líng yáng, 羚羊) usage in Singapore. The saiga (Saiga tatarica) is a Critically Endangered antelope from Central Asia whose horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat fever and heatiness (a TCM state of illness with symptoms like cough). We accomplished this work through four stages:
Other outputs and mainstream outreach associated with this case study include:
Oxford Researcher: Dr Timothy Kuiper
Collecting and evaluating baseline ecological and social data is central to evidence-based management of natural resources. Monitoring data may, however, be biased and imprecise; and monitoring results are often poorly integrated with local decision-making and anti-poaching. Using the programme for monitoring of the illegal killing of elephants (MIKE), this case study sought to address the following questions:
A large protected area complex in the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe, is the study system. We combined rigorous quantitative methods with in-depth qualitative methods to provide an integrated understanding of the data dynamics and human dynamics of the ranger-based monitoring-management system.
This case study has now evolved into an exciting policy collaboration with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks).
Thanks to the generous support of:
Oxford Policy Engagement Network, and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK