Identifying and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on legal and sustainable wildlife trade in LMICs

Project leader Richard Eba'a Atyi
Location Kenya, Cameroon, Congo (democratic Republic)
Project status ON-GOING
Project start 2020-08-14
Project end 2022-02-13

To contain COVID-19, there has been a clampdown on wildlife trade, which serves as a key source of livelihood and food security for hundreds of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Wildlife markets have been closed, new bans on wildlife products are being enforced and governments are proposing drastic changes to wildlife trade regulations. While these reforms aim to protect public health and safeguard food systems, they also threaten to disrupt wildlife supply chains that sustain livelihoods. This could push wildlife trade underground with unexpected implications for public health, biosafety and species conservation.

This project investigates the impacts of COVID-19 on wildlife trade and associated livelihoods in LMICs, using Kenya and Cameroon as case studies, with the goal of strengthening the evidence base for wildlife trade policy making during and after the pandemic. Using trade data, qualitative methods and future-orientated methods (Delphi process and scenario planning), the project will implement the following activities:
1. Track changing wildlife trade trends during the pandemic.
2. Assess the short- and medium-term impacts of changing wildlife trade trends on wildlife supply chains and associated livelihoods.
3. Co-produce recommendations for mitigating adverse impacts of COVID-19 on wildlife trade supply chains and livelihood outcomes in LMICs. An impact network of expert stakeholders (IUCN, IIED, TRAFFIC) supports the co-production of recommendations and dissemination of findings.

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