Symposium: Evolving perspectives on the demand for illegal wildlife products

This event is organised by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade

The illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade is a major and growing threat to biodiversity, contributing to severe population declines. Annually, hundreds of millions of plants and animals are traded and derived into numerous products, consumed for different motivations and values, such as medicinal, food, gifting and cultural. Estimated to be worth $8-10 billon (excluding fish and timber), this is one of the highest valued illicit trade sectors in the world.

The programme’s First Annual Symposium, Evolving Perspectives on the Demand for Illegal Wildlife Products, will share new ideas and approaches to better understand and address this challenge, discuss practical and pragmatic possibilities to move forward and bridge the gap between academia and practice. This three-day event is being held with support from San Diego Zoo Global and TRAFFIC.

The first day of the Symposium, September 25 will showcase of a series of invited presentations, panel discussions and an open poster session themed on:

  • Diverse approaches to illegal wildlife trade research
  • Linking the supply and demand for wildlife products
  • Changing wildlife consumption onto a legal, sustainable path

Keynote speakers presenting case studies, research and initiatives:

  • Gayle Burgess, TRAFFIC
  • Shannon Randolph, San Diego Zoo Global
  • Joss Wright, University of Oxford
  • Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes, University of Oxford
  • Hollie Booth, Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia
  • Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC & IUCN SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group
  • Lixin Huang, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Presenter TBC, Eu Yan Sang International Ltd

September 26 & 27 will consist of in-depth interactive sessions covering a range of methodological, conceptual and practical challenges of the illegal wildlife trade more broadly, such as:

  • Supply-demand market dynamics
  • Quantifying and surveying the online trade
  • Measuring demand reduction impact
  • Changing business sector behavior

September 26 will also feature an evening Debate on the Illegal Wildlife Trade chaired by renowned BBC journalist, John Simpson.

Throughout the Symposium, there will be opportunities for delegates from different backgrounds and institutions to connect, facilitating learning, raise awareness of potential synergies and collaborations, and catalyse new initiatives and partnerships, working towards building a more effective network of people working together to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.


  • Delegate residential package – £315
  • Delegate non-residential package – £195

Registration fees include refreshments, lunches and an evening drinks reception. Residential package also includes 2 nights’ accommodation, 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners at St Catherine’s College. For further information please contact Nafeesa Esmail

To register online click here

To submit a poster abstract click here

If you are keen to contribute to or offer a session, contact us to discuss if this is possible.

If you are from a developing country and wish to be considered for a bursary to attend our symposium, please fill out an application here.

For further information please contact Nafeesa Esmail Sign up here to receive event updates and news from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade seeks to address the pressing societal challenge of the illegal wildlife trade by making a step change in scientific understanding of consumer and market characteristics of wildlife products to effectively influence consumer behaviour. In collaboration with wildlife conservation practitioners on the ground, the programme aims to have real-world impact in reducing this threat to the survival of wildlife species. Additionally, the programme aims to provide an international hub and network for interdisciplinary research on the illegal wildlife trade, and foster strong partnerships across sectors, particularly through its knowledge exchange initiatives including its annual symposia and quarterly newsletter, Trading Ideas.

The second Wildlife Trade Symposium will be held in Singapore, June 2018.