• An assessment of wildlife use by northern Laos nationals

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Glikman, Jenny A. (2020)
      Unsustainable wildlife trade is a well-publicized area of international concern in Laos. Historically rich in both ethnic and biological diversity, Laos has emerged in recent years as a nexus for cross-border trade in floral and faunal wildlife, including endangered and threatened species. However, there has been little sustained research into the scale and scope of consumption of wildlife by Laos nationals themselves. Here, we conducted 100 semistructured interviews to gain a snapshot of consumption of wildlife in northern Laos, where international and in some cases illegal wildlife trade is known to occur. We found that although bear bile for medicine was the most common product consumed, individuals also used a variety of other products, including animals considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN. The majority of animals we found consumed are classified as “Vulnerable” or “Least Threatened” by the IUCN; however, sufficient demand for a species can cause increased, rapid decline in the species’ population and significantly increase the challenge of conserving them. These results therefore illuminate where conservation priorities should shift towards, so that stable-yet-consumed species do not mirror the fate of highly trafficked animals.
    • An updated analysis of the consumption of tiger products in urban Vietnam

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Willemsen, Madelon; Dang, Vinh; O’Connor, David; Glikman, Jenny A. (2020)
      Tigers are indisputably in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and demand for their parts. Tigers are extirpated in the wild from every country bar one in mainland East and Southeast Asia. Although consumption of tiger products is known to be established in China, less is known about demand for tiger products in Southeast Asia. In this study, we investigate tiger product demand in Vietnam, a major illegal wildlife consumer country. There has been little research into consumption, in particular the level of use, the products being consumed, variation in use of products between areas, and the motivations of consuming tiger products. Through a quantitative survey of 1120 individuals, we show that use of tiger products could be as high as ~11% of the sample in both urban centers of Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Tiger bone glue is the predominant product used, for medicinal purposes. In Hanoi, it is generally purchased by the individual for self-use, while in Ho Chi Minh City it is generally purchased as a gift. In both cities, individuals were generally highly satisfied with the product, indicating entrenched belief in efficacy among consumers. Ultimately, our results show that tiger product use is relatively pervasive. We suggest that conservation organizations should focus on behavior change campaigns that are informed by the results here, and that are specific to each area and to the specific use of tiger product glue for medicine. By reducing demand, beleaguered tiger populations will have a greater chance of stabilization and eventual growth.
    • Bears within the human landscape: Cultural and demographic factors influencing the use of bear parts in Cambodia and Laos

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Glikman, Jenny A.; Nevin, Owen; Convery, Ian; Davis, Peter (BoydellNewcastle, UK, 2019)
      Bears in Southeast Asia are declining across their range, primarily due to demand for their products, compounded by habitat loss. Although this decline has been observed in Cambodia and Laos, little research had been performed into in-country demand for bear products....
    • Consumer demand and traditional medicine prescription of bear products in Vietnam

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Glikman, Jenny A.; Crudge, Brian; Dang, Vinh; Willemsen, Madelon; Nguyen, Trang; O'Connor, David; Bendixsen, Tuan (2019)
      The illegal trade in wildlife products is a major driver of the global biodiversity crisis. Trade in wildlife products is driven by consumer demand; however, consumer's motivations are often poorly understood....
    • Groundwork for effective conservation education: an example of in situ and ex situ collaboration in South East Asia

      Crudge, B.; O'Connor, David; Hunt, M.; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Browne-Nuñez, Christine (2016)
      ...Here, we present the collaborative efforts of San Diego Zoo Global, USA, and Free the Bears to design innovative surveys aimed at improving our understanding of public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards bears and bear-part consumption in South East Asia. Over 1500 surveys were completed in Cambodia and Lao PDR.....
    • Local attitudes toward Apennine brown bears: Insights for conservation issues

      Glikman, Jenny A.; Ciucci, Paolo; Marino, Agnese; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Bath, Alistair J.; Boitani, Luigi (2019)
      Human-carnivore coexistence is a multi-faceted issue that requires an understanding of the diverse attitudes and perspectives of the communities living with large carnivores. To inform initiatives that encourage behaviors in line with conservation goals, we focused on assessing the two components of attitudes (i.e., feelings and beliefs), as well as norms of local communities coexisting with Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) for a long time. This bear population is under serious extinction risks due to its persistently small population size, which is currently confined to the long-established protected area of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (PNALM) and its surrounding region in central Italy. We interviewed 1,611 residents in the PNALM to determine attitudes and values toward bears. We found that support for the bear's legal protection was widespread throughout the area, though beliefs about the benefits of conserving bears varied across geographic administrative districts. Our results showed that residents across our study areas liked bears. At the same time, areas that received more benefits from tourism were more strongly associated with positive feelings toward bears. Such findings provide useful information to improve communication efforts of conservation authorities with local communities.
    • Possible evidence for a lack of medicinal efficacy in sun bear bile?

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Gaffi, Lorenzo; Zaw, Thet; Mussoni, Giulia; Glikman, Jenny A. (2020)
      A growing body of evidence has illuminated the ubiquity of bear bile and bear gallbladder use across mainland Southeast Asia (Davis et al. 2016, 2019a,b). In Vietnam, the use of bear bile/gallbladder appears to be comparable to neighboring China, with ubiquitous farms in provinces across the country, the majority of which extract bile from Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) (Crudge et al. 2020)....
    • Rigorous wildlife disease surveillance

      Watsa, Mrinalini; Wildlife Disease Surveillance Focus Group; Erkenswick, G.; Prost, S.; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Moore, Caroline; Kubiski, Steven V.; Witte, Carmel L.; Ogden, R.; Meredith, A.; et al. (2020)
      Evidence suggests that zoonotic (animal origin) coronaviruses have caused three recent emerging infectious disease (EID) outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the search for an intermediate host for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19), studies have identified SARS-CoV-2–like strains in bats (1) and pangolins (2), but these do not contain the same polybasic cleavage site that is present in SARS-CoV-2 (3). It is unknown what the intermediate host for this spillover event was because to date there are no international or national conventions on pathogen screening associated with animals, animal products, or their movements, and capacity for EID diagnostics is limited along much of the human-wildlife interface....
    • Understanding attitudes and usage of wild bear parts in Laos and Cambodia: A preliminary study using citizen scientists

      O’Connor, David; Crudge, B.; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Hunt, M.; Harris, J.; Browne-Nuñez, C.; Pesei, K.; Blint, E. (2015)
    • Understanding the prevalence of bear part consumption in Cambodia: A comparison of specialised questioning techniques

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Crudge, Brian; Lim, Thona; O'Connor, David; Roth, Vichet; Hunt, Matt; Glikman, Jenny A. (2019)
      The trade in bear parts for medicine and for status is a conservation challenge throughout Asia. The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) are endemic to this region, and populations are estimated to have declined throughout their ranges due to widespread illegal killing of bears and trade in parts, combined with loss of habitat. Previous studies have indicated that legislation alone is insufficient to prevent illegal hunting and trade, indicating instead a need to address demand for bear parts and products. We conducted mixed-method surveys in Cambodia to understand the key motivators for individuals to consume bear parts, and to understand whether specialised questioning techniques are applicable in this context. Bear part use is illegal in Cambodia and may therefore be considered a sensitive behaviour, in that individuals may be reluctant to admit to it. To counteract possible biases, four specialised questioning techniques were used in this study: randomised response technique (RRT), unmatched count technique (UCT), nominative technique (NT), and false consensus bias (FCB). All four methods serve to shield a respondent’s admittance of a sensitive behaviour from the interviewer. The results presented here show that great variability exists in anonymous methods’ efficacy in certain contexts. However, the results overall indicate that individuals in Cambodia are under-reporting their consumption of bear parts when directly asked, and that the prevalence of bear part use in Cambodia may be as high as 15% of the population, representing a significant conservation challenge.