Reducing Demand for Illegal Wildlife

Reducing Demand for Illegal Wildlife Projects

Principal Investigators: Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland (Centre for Environmental Policy) and Professor Andreas Eisingerich

Researcher: Vian Sharif (PhD candidate, Imperial College London)

Funder: Defra

Duration: 1 year

The research team is using innovative methods to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products. The aim of this project is to determine the most effective interventions for reducing the trade in illegal wildlife products by developing tools and guidance for governments, non-government organisations (NGOs) and others in developing their demand reduction campaigns.

This project aims to advance our understanding of the attitudes and motivations driving consumer demand for, and relationships with, illegal wildlife products, as well as the prevalence of ivory and rhino horn use among consumer segments.

Consumer marketing research has developed new models and techniques for understanding human decision-making, so this project will consider how to introduce these into the field of conservation science to ask questions about sensitive behaviours. This has been highlighted as a crucial gap in conservationists’ body of knowledge which may improve the efficacy of programmes to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. This project, using trans-disciplinary literature within conservation, will be one of the first to address this issue, helping to advance knowledge on decision-making by consumers of illegal wildlife.

Research Partners

Part of this research is carried out as part of a consortium commissioned by Defra to complete a one year research project to support actions to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products. The consortium is led by WWF, TRAFFIC, and Imperial College London with the Imperial team being responsible for the primary research component.

Key Research Questions:

  • How can consumer marketing research lead to the development of new models on human decision-making in the field of conservation science?
  • How can we use these new models to ask questions about sensitive behaviours and develop tools to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products?