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Motivations for the use and consumption of wildlife products

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Laura Thomas-Walters
  • Amy Hinsley
  • Daniel Bergin
  • Gayle Burgess
  • Hunter Doughty
  • Sara Eppel
  • Douglas MacFarlane
  • Wander Meijer
  • Tien Ming Lee
  • Jacob Phelps
  • Robert J. Smith
  • Anita K. Y. Wan
  • Diogo Verissimo
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Conservation Biology
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)483-491
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date5/08/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The dominant approach to combating the illegal wildlife trade has traditionally been to restrict the supply of wildlife products. Yet conservationists increasingly recognise the importance of implementing demand‐side interventions that target the end consumers in the trade chain. Their aim is to curb the consumption of wildlife or shift consumption to more sustainable alternatives. However, there are still considerable knowledge gaps in our understanding of the diversity of consumer motivations in the context of illegal wildlife trade, which includes hundreds of thousands of species, different uses, and diverse contexts. We developed a typology of common motivations held by wildlife consumers that can be used to inform conservation interventions, based upon consultation with multiple experts from a diversity of backgrounds, nationalities, and focal taxa. We identified five main motivational categories for wildlife use: experiential, social, functional, financial, and spiritual, each containing sub‐categories. This framework is intended to facilitate more nuanced approaches to demand reduction, such as the tailoring of interventions — whether behaviour change campaigns, enforcement efforts, or incentive programmes — to the specific context in which they will be used. It is an important step towards producing a more systematic approach to designing demand reduction interventions that are more likely to succeed.