• 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.