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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 184-189

Domesticating the Exotic? An Online Survey of Attitudes towards the International Wildlife Pet Trade


1 Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado, USA
2 Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA
3 Oklahoma Biological Survey; Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma; Department of Biology, Northwest Nazarene University, Idaho, USA
4 Oklahoma Biological Survey; Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA
5 Oklahoma Biological Survey; Department of Biology; Corix Plains Institute, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA
6 Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA
7 Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability; Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA
8 Department of Anthropology and Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA

Correspondence Address:
Andrea Contina
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_209_20

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There are a variety of perspectives on wildlife management and conservation, necessitating interdisciplinary research to develop better management strategies. We answered the call to action provided by Teel et al. (2018) to integrate social sciences into conservation and explored an important but understudied issue: views on the international pet-trade of exotic animals. Some pet owners advocate the pet trade as a means to promote conservation, where removing wild animals from their natural habitat could protect them from degraded environments. To gauge how prevalent this attitude is in a cross-national sample, we conducted an online survey that asked 882 participants worldwide to evaluate the pet trade and its relationship with biological conservation. Overall, our survey results showed regional patterns and indicated that younger respondents were more likely to consider international pet trade as a form of acceptable conservation practice compared to older respondents. Education also played a role in shaping views on the pet-trade and indicated that respondents with higher education degrees were less prone to accept pet trade as a substitute for conservation practices. Our research provides novel insights applicable to education programmes and international conservation efforts while highlighting variation in attitudes even among professionals with formal training in natural sciences and ecology.


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