Younger generation driving illegal trade

  • September 10, 2012


A new survey of the illegal trade in wildlife across Asia has contradicted some commonly held beliefs. The survey was conducted by a consortium of wildlife and conservation NGO’s and media companies in preparation for a marketing campaign to reduce the trade. It discovered that the younger generation is driving the increasing illegal trade.

The most prolific purchasers of animal products are wealthy urban males aged between 25 and 45. These young men are not buying rhino horn, for example, as cures for cancer or fertility boosts but as status symbols and investments. A finding that counters the belief that the majority of buyers use wildlife product for traditional medicinal practices.

Consumer profiles collected during the survey across 15 Asian countries indicated that the quest for prestige and higher status is driving much of the current slaughter of elephants, tigers, pangolins, bears and rhinos. Government interest in the issue in most countries remains very low, outside small and under-funded environmental agencies but the coalition is now working on educational efforts based on their shared surveys, with joint campaigns being designed in several countries.

The Working Group gathering was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development “ARREST” Program (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking), which is coordinated by FREELAND.

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Source: Kevin Heath

Photo credit: EIA