Exploring the Africa-Asia Trade Nexus for Endangered Wildlife Used in Traditional Asian Medicine: Interviews With Traders in South Africa and Vietnam

Many species in Southeast Asia have been over-hunted to supply the demand for Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) ingredients. As access to their parts become more difficult, consumer’s demand is shifting to novel substitutes. Accurate estimation of the level of illegal wildlife trade is therefore important to ensure long term sustainability. The primary aim of this study is to provide an understanding of the current illegal wildlife trade market for TAM purposes in South Africa. The secondary aim is to explore the possibility of applying different survey methods in detecting the trade in endangered wildlife parts. As the number of criminal’s wildlife of Vietnamese origin has increased in South Africa in recent decades, we surveyed 183 traditional medicine shops in both South Africa and Vietnam between April – August 2017, using direct observation and sensitive questioning techniques to estimate the magnitude of the wildlife trade for TAM purposes. Our results show that the Randomise Response Technique resulted in highest prevalence estimates for the trade in wild animal parts, while False Consensus Bias does not appear to be effective in this study. It is clear that wild animal parts are not only being trafficked from Africa to Asia for TAM use, but Asian originated products such as bear parts might also be smuggled into South Africa for domestic consumption. We recommend that improving wildlife law enforcement and providing protection for non-native species in domestic legislation in both South Africa and Vietnam is required to ensure the survival of these species.

Publish DateMay 27, 2021
Last UpdatedMay 27, 2021
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