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Supplying the Exotic Pet Trade: Conservation and Livelihood Implications

Robinson, Janine Elizabeth (2017) Supplying the Exotic Pet Trade: Conservation and Livelihood Implications. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.61269) (KAR id:61269)


The wildlife trade represents a significant threat to biodiversity, but may also provide opportunities for societal and economic benefits. To supply the trade, wildlife is often sourced from biodiverse developing countries where poverty rates are high. Ensuring a legal and sustainable trade is therefore critical not only for conservation and implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but can contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals to reduce poverty in developing regions. This thesis investigates trade in live animals, with emphasis on socio-economic implications of wildlife trade chains, and how these interact with conservation and sustainable use in supply countries. An interdisciplinary approach utilises global analysis of wildlife trade data; social research methods to examine the trade in Madagascar; and a specialised questioning technique to explore sustainability of the trade at the end-user level. The findings demonstrate an increasing component of the reptile pet trade comprises animals from ranching operations, or captive-bred in consumer countries. Although this may take pressure off wild populations, it may have implications for biodiversity and benefit sharing in supply countries. In Madagascar, a small proportion of the export value of reptiles and amphibians reaches local collectors. Whilst being potentially profitable and providing additional cash income to some households, wildlife trapping is also unreliable, part-time and financially risky. Consequently, it appears to bring limited opportunities for poverty alleviation or incentives for conservation at the local scale. Value chain analysis reveals the informal and complex nature of the supply chain, making design and implementation of interventions to enhance the trade challenging. Findings suggest that initiatives may be most effective working at the local level to improve organisation and cooperative management of the trade. At the consumer end, mortality of pet reptiles varies between taxa but appears to be relatively low. This directly informs debate concerning exotic pet keeping in consumer countries, for which there are limited data concerning sustainability of wildlife supply chains. Together, these studies enhance knowledge regarding implications of the wildlife trade for livelihoods and conservation, and inform dialogue concerning wildlife trade policy and practice more generally.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Roberts, David
Thesis advisor: Griffiths, Richard
Thesis advisor: St. John, Freya A.V.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.61269
Additional information: The author of this thesis has asked that this thesis be made available on an open access basis under the licence displayed. 08/09/21
Uncontrolled keywords: Wildlife Trade Conservation Livelihoods CITES CBD Reptiles Amphibians Madagascar
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 17:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 17:23 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Robinson, Janine Elizabeth.

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