What Drives Demand for Wildlife? A Situation Analysis of Consumer Demand for Wildlife Parts and Products in China, Thailand and Vietnam Based on a Literature Review

This Situation Analysis is the first step in creating an evidence base for a USAID Wildlife Asia demand reduction program in the three focus countries. The Analysis aimed to collect, summarize, and review consumer research and evaluation studies of past demand reduction campaigns on ivory, pangolin, rhino horn, and tiger products, and other literature available on the internet in these countries.

It summarized and synthesized findings on the different consumers of the four focal species, their socio-demographic characteristics, key drivers underlying their consumption behaviors, commonalities among drivers and consumers across countries and/or species, consumers’ perception of the risks that their purchase or consumption behaviors posed, among others.

The findings revealed that the number of people consuming wildlife products in China, Thailand, and Vietnam is significantly large enough to drive markets for wildlife products in these countries. There are two key drivers underlying consumption:

  1. Affirmation of status and wealth (with attachment to cultural heritage to a lesser extent); and,
  2. Belief that wildlife products have medicinal or health value. Ivory consumption is mainly driven by the concern for status and wealth while tiger products are mostly valued for their perceived medicinal/health benefits.

Pangolin and rhino horn are associated with both drivers. Consumption for medicinal value is correlated with consumption for status. Consumers are aware that wildlife species are endangered but generally do not relate this to their own consumption. There is a significant group of likely buyers who aspire to buy wildlife in the future.

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