Wildlife Trade Research

The international nature of wildlife trade allows us to quantify wildlife trade issues in all corners of the world. We work in Asia, South America, North and West Africa and, to a lesser degree, Europe and North America. We study the trade networks, the people (consumers, producers, distributors) and the wildlife involved, but also the rules and laws that aim at regulating domestic and international wildlife trade. The members of the OWTRG have thus far focused on taxa as diverse as Siamese rosewood, Burmese paduak, eel, poison arrow frogs, freshwater turtles and tortoises, snakes and lizards, birds of prey, songbirds, bears, wild cats, elephants, and primates. It includes the trade in plants (e.g. timber), live animals (e.g. for the pet markets or biomedical industries), dead animals (to be used for food, medicine or ornaments), animal parts (bones, ivory), and derivatives (tiger bone medicine, bear bile).

The OWTRG aims at developing a widespread network of collaborative links with anthropologists, biologists, forestry and customs officials, experts on law and international wildlife / biodiversity conservation treaties, museums and zoos. It furthermore will provide a port of call for the media to obtain information on wildlife trade issues. The aim is to facilitate research, to disseminate results of ongoing research, to liaise with NGOs and governments, to initiate collaborative projects, and to increase the quality of research and monitoring, with the ultimate aim of improving the regulation of wildlife trade to sustainable levels.

History of the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group

The initiators of the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group have a wide range of backgrounds, including anthropology, conservation biology, natural resource management, advocacy, etc. and lived and worked in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. All of us started researching aspects of wildlife trade in the early 1990s and this is what united us. The idea of setting up a wildlife trade research group was conceived in a series of meetings in Kuala Lumpur (2003, 2005), Bangkok (2006) and Amsterdam (2006). Research is best done in collaboration, and that is why, in 2007, we united in the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group. To anchor it geographically, and to reflect the location where our most recent meetings were held, we named it after one of the global academic centres, Oxford.

The Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group has grown over the years, and researchers from Brazil, Mexico, Algeria, Thailand, and many other countries joined us, bringing with them a wealth of expertise in silviculture, philosophy, artificial propagation, business management, statistics, demand reduction, emerging infectious diseases, etc. Members of the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group take part on a personal basis and their views or opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the organisations or government agencies they are employed by.

We work on animals and plants in terrestrial and marine environments, everywhere where wildlife is traded. Recognising that the majority of wildlife trade is legal and to avoid stigmatising all those involved in the wildlife trade our remit includes all aspects of wildlife trade, legal, semi-legal and illegal.

If you landed here when searching for information on the illegal wildlife trade linked to the more recently established Oxford Martin Programme on Illegal Wildlife Trade, please click [here].