Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (5): 606-620.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020135

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Understanding and changing wildlife consumption behavior from a multidisciplinary perspective

Zhijian Liang1,2,Jiabei Hu1,2,Sifan Hu1,2,Jingjing Zhao1,2,Kaiwen Zhou1,2,Yunbo Jiao3,Cheng Huang1,2,Xia He1,2,Anita Kar Yan Wan1,2,Lishu Li4,Fangyuan Hua5,Tien Ming Lee1,2,6,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    2 State Key Laboratory of Biological Control, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    3 School of Law, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    4 Wildlife Conservation Society, Beijing 100012
    5 Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    6 School of Ecology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006
  • Received:2020-04-01 Accepted:2020-05-19 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-07-16
  • Contact: Tien Ming Lee


Escalating global demand for wildlife products and consequential illegal wildlife trade has become one of the major threats to biodiversity conservation. In the recent COVID-19 pandemic, growing public health risks of wildlife trade and consumption have triggered widespread public concern. In this review, we adopt a multidisciplinary perspective, including sociology, psychology, behavioral science and other disciplines, to understand the motivations for wildlife consumption in China, and to propose scientifically guided behavioral change countermeasures. The current state of wildlife consumption in China reveals certain functional, social, experiential and other non-essential needs of wildlife as major drivers of consumption, which are affected by a host of complex factors. Based on our understanding of the drivers of demand, we suggest using behavioral change frameworks, and a variety of behavioral change methods, including education, social influence, regulation and nudging, to effectively influence and change wildlife consumption behavior. For effective implementation of behavioral change strategies, collaboration needs to be strengthened, both among and across diverse disciplines, actors and scales of interest.

Key words: illegal wildlife trade, drivers of demand, demand reduction, behavioral change, multidisciplinary collaboration