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Wildlife Trade Futures

COVID-19 shone a bright light on the relationship between the wildlife trade, the risks of zoonotic diseases, and broader concerns about wildlife economies and public health, especially in the Global South. Wildlife Trade Futures is a research project that aims to understand how the global wildlife trade landscape and related economies are being re-shaped in the COVID-19/post COVID-19 era and with what consequences. Envisioned and started in response to the specifics of COVID-19, the project has evolved to use a range of social science approaches to critically examine the relationships between the wildlife trade/wildlife economies and concerns around zoonoses and public health, and wildlife-based livelihoods. The project aims to provide policymakers with evidence-based guidelines on how to mitigate the ecological and public health risks of wildlife trade in the (post)COVID-19 era in ways that are attentive to power relations, inequality and justice. 

The research activities focus on three areas: (1) tracking global trends in policy responses to COVID-19 and wildlife trade; (2) assessing the impacts of COVID-19 and concerns around zoonotic diseases on wildlife trade supply/value chains and livelihoods, focusing on Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and (3) collating insights into how critical social science perspectives can enhance our understanding of the relationship between wildlife economies and zoonosis. 

The collaborative research and activities involve Dr Francis Massé at Northumbria University and collaborators at the University of Birmingham, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) with local CIFOR teams in Cameroon, the DRC and Zambia. The project was originally funded by the UKRI-GCRF/Newton Fund grant and continues to examine the relationships between the wildlife trade (legal and illegal), public health, and socio-economic/ecological justice and development. 

Beyond scientific publications, the project is also working towards public and policy facing outputs that to date include a virtual seminar series, series of blog posts and a policy brief.  

You can find out more about the project, team, articles, outputs and follow updates via the project’s dedicated website and Twitter page.


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