New paper in Oryx about pangolin consumption

This latest paper from ICCS group members, Olmedo, A., Veríssimo, D., Milner-Gulland, E., Hinsley, A. & Challender, D. on pangolin consumption in HCMC, Viet nam is the first to use a specialised questioning technique for sensitive behaviours and shows consumption is very likely unsustainable


Pangolins have been exploited throughout history but evidence points to population declines across parts of their ranges since the 1960s, especially in Asia. This is the result of overexploitation for local use and international trade and trafficking of their derivatives. The prevalence of the consumption of pangolin products has been estimated for different localities in Viet Nam but, considering that national legislation prohibits the purchase of pangolin products, previous research has not accounted for the potential for biased responses. In this study, we treat pangolin consumption as a sensitive behaviour and estimate consumption prevalence of pangolin meat, scales and wine (a whole pangolin or pangolin parts or fluids soaked or mixed in rice wine) in Ho Chi Minh City using a specialized questioning method, the unmatched count technique. We also characterize the demographics of consumers. Our results suggest there is active consumption of all three pangolin products, with a best-estimate prevalence of 7% of a representative sample of Ho Chi Minh City residents for pangolin meat, 10% for scales and 6% for wine. Our prevalence estimates exceed estimates from direct questions, providing evidence for the sensitivity of pangolin consumption. We compared our analysis of consumer characteristics with existing profiles of pangolin consumers and found substantial differences, suggesting that consumption occurs among broader demographic groups than previously described. Our findings suggest that efforts to reduce demand for pangolin consumption in Viet Nam should focus on a broader range of consumers than previously identified.


Olmedo, A., Veríssimo, D., Milner-Gulland, E., Hinsley, A., Dao, H., & Challender, D. (2021). Uncovering prevalence of pangolin consumption using a technique for investigating sensitive behaviour. Oryx, 1-9. doi:10.1017/S0030605320001040




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