• 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....
    • Characterizing efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products

      Veríssimo, Diogo; Wan, Anita K. Y. (2019)
      The unsustainable trade in wildlife is a key threat to Earth's biodiversity. Efforts to mitigate this threat have traditionally focused on regulation and enforcement, and there is a growing interest in campaigns to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products....
    • Community-led conservation action in the Ebo forest, Cameroon.

      Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Mfossa, DM; Morgan, Bethan J. (2015)
      The Ebo forest in Littoral Region, Cameroon harbours a rich biodiversity of primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees. The government of Cameroon launched the gazettement of the Ebo forest into a national park in 2006. However, the decree creating the park is still awaited and there is little or no wildlife law enforcement on the ground (Morgan et al. 2011). The proximity of Ebo to major urban centres like Douala, Edea and Yaoundé is a major incentive to the hunting and bushmeat trade, especially as growing agricultural products is not commercially viable given the poor state of the roads around the forest. The forest is thus a main source of livelihood to adjacent communities that depend on unsustainable hunting and the bushmeat trade for protein and income (Morgan 2004). In addition to running two biological research stations in the west and east of the forest, the Ebo Forest Research Project (EFRP) has been working with local communities, traditional and administrative authorities around the forest to conserve its rich biodiversity and habitats while waiting for the official protection of the forest (Abwe and Morgan 2012). This article is aimed at providing a summary of the community-led conservation initiatives by traditional authorities and communities around the Ebo forest since 2012.
    • 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....
    • Evaluating the application of scale frequency to estimate the size of pangolin scale seizures

      Ullmann, Tessa; Veríssimo, Diogo; Challender, Daniel W. S. (2019)
      All eight species of pangolin are principally threatened by overexploitation, both for international trafficking and local use. Much illegal trade involves scales, but there is an absence of robust conversion parameters for estimating the number of different pangolin species in given seizures. Such parameters are critical in order to accurately characterize pangolin trafficking and understand the magnitude and impact of exploitation on populations. In this study, we calculated the number of scales on 66 museum specimens representing all eight extant pangolin species from the genera Manis, Phataginus, and Smutsia, and developed a method for estimating the number of pangolins in given seizures of scales based on scale frequency. Our statistical analyses found significant variation in scale number in inter-species terms (ranging from 382 for Temminck's ground pangolin to 940 for the Philippine pangolin), and in intra-species terms, with substantial variation in the giant pangolin (509–664 scales) and minimal variation in the Chinese pangolin (527–581 scales). We discuss application of the developed sampling method in a real world context and critically appraise it against existing methods. The knowledge generated in this study should assist in understanding pangolin trafficking dynamics, though there remains a need for accurate conversion parameters for estimating the number of pangolins in illegal trade, especially for the Indian and African species.
    • Exploring saiga horn consumption in Singapore

      Theng, Meryl; Glikman, Jenny A.; Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2018)
      The Critically Endangered saiga antelope Saiga tatarica faces an uncertain future, with populations dwindling from epidemics in its range countries, and ongoing demand for its horns in the traditional Chinese medicine trade....
    • First evidence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranavirus in Hong Kong amphibian trade

      Kolby, Jonathan E.; Smith, Kristine M.; Berger, Lee; Karesh, William B.; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P.; Skerratt, Lee F. (2014)
      The emerging infectious amphibian diseases caused by amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranaviruses are responsible for global amphibian population declines and extinctions. Although likely to have been spread by a variety of activities, transcontinental dispersal appears closely associated with the international trade in live amphibians. The territory of Hong Kong reports frequent, high volume trade in amphibians, and yet the presence of Bd and ranavirus have not previously been detected in either traded or free-ranging amphibians. In 2012, a prospective surveillance project was conducted to investigate the presence of these pathogens in commercial shipments of live amphibians exported from Hong Kong International Airport. Analysis of skin (Bd) and cloacal (ranavirus) swabs by quantitative PCR detected pathogen presence in 31/265 (11.7%) and in 105/185 (56.8%) of amphibians, respectively. In addition, the water in which animals were transported tested positive for Bd, demonstrating the risk of pathogen pollution by the disposal of untreated wastewater. It is uncertain whether Bd and ranavirus remain contained within Hong Kong’s trade sector, or if native amphibians have already been exposed. Rapid response efforts are now urgently needed to determine current pathogen distribution in Hong Kong, evaluate potential trade-associated exposure to free-ranging amphibians, and identify opportunities to prevent disease establishment.
    • 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 knowledge and use of the Valle de Aguan Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna, in Honduras

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Danoff-Burg, James A.; Antunes, E.E.; Corneil, J.P. (2014)
      The harvesting of wildlife has had a devastating effect on global biodiversity. Here we investigate the perceived status of the Critically Endangered Valle de Aguán Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna. We interviewed 132 residents of the Valle de Aguán, Honduras to: (1) examine their knowledge of the range and habitat preference; (2) document the use and trade; and (3) understand the level of awareness and openness to protection of this species. Our results indicate that these iguanas are primarily used for food. Though they are a small component of the local diet, consumption is occurring with a preference for gravid females. There are significant gender and geographic differences in consumption by humans. Though these harvesting actions contribute to the continuing decline of this species, our results demonstrate that there is a local belief that these iguanas are in danger of extinction, that conservation actions should occur, and that international involvement is welcome.
    • Local knowledge and use of the valle de aguán spinytailed iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna, in Honduras

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Danoff-Burg, James A.; Antúnez, Edoardo E.; Corneil, Jeffrey P. (2014)
      The harvesting of wildlife has had a devastating effect on global biodiversity. Here we investigate the perceived status of the Critically Endangered Valle de Aguán Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna. We interviewed 132 residents of the Valle de Aguán, Honduras to: (1) examine their knowledge of the range and habitat preference; (2) document the use and trade; and (3) understand the level of awareness and openness to protection of this species. Our results indicate that these iguanas are primarily used for food. Though they are a small component of the local diet, consumption is occurring with a preference for gravid females. There are significant gender and geographic differences in consumption by humans. Though these harvesting actions contribute to the continuing decline of this species, our results demonstrate that there is a local belief that these iguanas are in danger of extinction, that conservation actions should occur, and that international involvement is welcome.
    • 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)....
    • Rapid response to evaluate the presence of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranavirus in wild amphibian populations in Madagascar

      Kolby, Jonathan E.; Smith, Kristine M.; Ramirez, Sara D.; Rabemananjara, Falitiana; Pessier, Allan P.; Brunner, Jesse L.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Berger, Lee; Skerratt, Lee F. (2015)
      We performed a rapid response investigation to evaluate the presence and distribution of amphibian pathogens in Madagascar following our identification of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) and ranavirus in commercially exported amphibians. This targeted risk-based field surveillance program was conducted from February to April 2014 encompassing 12 regions and 47 survey sites. We simultaneously collected amphibian and environmental samples to increase survey sensitivity and performed sampling both in wilderness areas and commercial amphibian trade facilities. Bd was not detected in any of 508 amphibian skin swabs or 68 water filter samples, suggesting pathogen prevalence was below 0.8%, with 95% confidence during our visit. Ranavirus was detected in 5 of 97 amphibians, including one adult Mantidactylus cowanii and three unidentified larvae from Ranomafana National Park, and one adult Mantidactylus mocquardi from Ankaratra. Ranavirus was also detected in water samples collected from two commercial amphibian export facilities. We also provide the first report of an amphibian mass-mortality event observed in wild amphibians in Madagascar. Although neither Bd nor ranavirus appeared widespread in Madagascar during this investigation, additional health surveys are required to disentangle potential seasonal variations in pathogen abundance and detectability from actual changes in pathogen distribution and rates of spread. Accordingly, our results should be conservatively interpreted until a comparable survey effort during winter months has been performed. It is imperative that biosecurity practices be immediately adopted to limit the unintentional increased spread of disease through the movement of contaminated equipment or direct disposal of contaminated material from wildlife trade facilities. The presence of potentially introduced strains of ranaviruses suggests that Madagascar's reptile species might also be threatened by disease. Standardized population monitoring of key amphibian and reptile species should be established with urgency to enable early detection of potential impacts of disease emergence in this global biodiversity hotspot.
    • Saiga horn user characteristics, motivations, and purchasing behaviour in Singapore

      Doughty, Hunter; Veríssimo, Diogo; Tan, Regina Chun Qi; Lee, Janice Ser Huay; Carrasco, L. Roman; Oliver, Kathryn; Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2019)
      Unsustainable wildlife trade is a pervasive issue affecting wildlife globally. To address this issue, a plethora of demand reduction efforts have been carried out. These necessitate consumer research which provides crucial knowledge for designing and evaluating targeted interventions. We implemented a rigorous consumer survey on saiga (Saiga tatarica) horn use in Singapore, where usage is legal and widely sold. Saiga are Critically Endangered antelopes from Central Asia with horns (often marketed as ling yang) used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Few past studies have assessed saiga horn consumers. This work is the most extensive consumer research to date specifically characterising saiga horn consumers and usage. We conducted 2294 in-person surveys on saiga horn use with Chinese Singaporeans, employing neutral questioning approaches. We found 19% of individuals reported saiga horn as a product they choose most often for themselves and/or others when treating fever and/or heatiness (a TCM state of illness), indicating a minimum estimate of high-frequency usage, not including possible low-frequency users. Overall saiga users were most characterised as middle-aged Buddhists and Taoists. However, saiga users were found in a range of demographic groups. Women preferred saiga shavings (the more traditional form), while men preferred saiga cooling water (the more modern form). About 53% of individuals who used saiga horn themselves also bought it for someone else. Buyers for others were most likely to be female middle-aged Buddhists or Taoists. Key motivating reasons for usage were “it works” and “someone recommended it to me.” The top two reported recommenders were family and TCM shopkeepers. Saiga users were more likely than non-saiga users to perceive saiga as a common species in the wild. This research holds significance for interventions targeting saiga horn consumption within Singapore and throughout Asia, by identifying potential target audiences, product types, non-desirable alternatives, and motivations for use.
    • To what extent is social marketing used in demand reduction campaigns for illegal wildlife products? Insights from elephant ivory and rhino horn

      Greenfield, Steven; Veríssimo, Diogo (2019)
      The illegal wildlife trade is a global threat to biodiversity as well as to public health and good governance. As legislation and law enforcement have been insufficient to protect many wildlife species, conservationists are increasingly focused on campaigns to help reduce demand for wildlife products....
    • Trade in live reptiles, its impact on wild populations, and the role of the European market

      Auliya, Mark; Altherr, Sandra; Ariano-Sanchez, Daniel; Baard, Ernst H.; Brown, Carl; Brown, Rafe M.; Cantu, Juan-Carlos; Gentile, Gabriele; Gildenhuys, Paul; Henningheim, Evert; et al. (2016)
      …The European Union (EU) plays a major role in reptile trade. Between 2004 and 2014 (the period under study), the EU member states officially reported the import of 20,788,747 live reptiles. This review suggests that illegal trade activities involve species regulated under CITES, as well as species that are not CITES-regulated but nationally protected in their country of origin and often openly offered for sale in the EU….
    • 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)