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Perception, Price and Preference: Consumption and Protection of Wild Animals Used in Traditional Medicine

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A wide array of wildlife species, including many animals, are used in traditional medicines across many medicinal systems, including in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Due to over-exploitation and habitat loss, the populations of many animals commonly used in TCM have declined and are unable to meet market demand. A number of measures have been taken to try to reduce the impact that this large and growing market for TCM may have on wild animal species. Consumer preferences and behavior are known to play an important role in the consumption and protection of wild animals used in traditional medicine, and thus are likely to be an important factor in the success of many of these mechanisms-particularly given the significant percentage of TCMs that are over-the-counter products (access to which is not mediated by practitioners). In this study we conducted questionnaires and designed stated preference experiments embodying different simulation scenarios using a random sample of the population in Beijing to elicit individuals' knowledge, perceptions and preferences toward wild or farmed animal materials and their substitutes used in traditional Chinese medicine. We found that respondents had a stated preference for wild materials over farm-raised and other alternatives because they believe that the effectiveness of wild-sourced materials is more credible than that of other sources. However, we also found that, although respondents used TCM products, they had a poor understanding of the function or composition of either traditional Chinese medicines or proprietary Chinese medicines (PCM), and paid little attention to the composition of products when making purchasing decisions. Furthermore, awareness of the need for species protection, or "conservation consciousness" was found to play an important role in willingness to accept substitutions for wild animal materials, while traditional animal medicinal materials (TAMs) derived from well-known endangered species, such as bear bile and tiger bone, show relatively higher substitutability. These results suggest that there is still hope for conservation measures which seek to promote a transition to farmed animal, plant and synthetic ingredients and provide clear directions for future social marketing, education and engagement efforts.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Perception, Price and Preference:
Consumption and Protection of Wild Animals
Used in Traditional Medicine
Zhao Liu
1,2,3
, Zhigang Jiang
1,5
*, Hongxia Fang
1,2
, Chunwang Li
1,2
, Aizi Mi
4
, Jing Chen
1,2
,
Xiaowei Zhang
1,2
, Shaopeng Cui
1,2
, Daiqiang Chen
1,2
, Xiaoge Ping
1,2
, Feng Li
1,2
,
Chunlin Li
1,2,6
, Songhua Tang
1
, Zhenhua Luo
1,2,7
, Yan Zeng
1,5
, Zhibin Meng
1,5
1Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, Beijing, China, 2Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 3College of
Agriculture and Biotechnology, Hexi University, Zhangye, China, 4College of Biological Sciences, China
Agricultural University, Beijing, China, 5Endangered Species Scientific Commission of Peoples Republic
China, Beijing, China, 6School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei,
China, 7Molecular and Behaviour Ecology Research Group, School of Life Sciences, Central China Normal
University, Wuhan, China
*jiangzg@ioz.ac.cn
Abstract
A wide array of wildlife species, including many animals, are used in traditional medicines
across many medicinal systems, including in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Due to
over-exploitation and habitat loss, the populations of many animals commonly used in TCM
have declined and are unable to meet market demand. A number of measures have been
taken to try to reduce the impact that this large and growing market for TCM may have on
wild animal species. Consumer preferences and behavior are known to play an important
role in the consumption and protection of wild animals used in traditional medicine, and thus
are likely to be an important factor in the success of many of these mechanismsparticu-
larly given the significant percentage of TCMs that are over-the-counter products (access to
which is not mediated by practitioners). In this study we conducted questionnaires and
designed stated preference experiments embodying different simulation scenarios using a
random sample of the population in Beijing to elicit individualsknowledge, perceptions and
preferences toward wild or farmed animal materials and their substitutes used in traditional
Chinese medicine. We found that respondents had a stated preference for wild materials
over farm-raised and other alternatives because they believe that the effectiveness of wild-
sourced materials is more credible than that of other sources. However, we also found that,
although respondents used TCM products, they had a poor understanding of the function
or composition of either traditional Chinese medicines or proprietary Chinese medicines
(PCM), and paid little attention to the composition of products when making purchasing
decisions. Furthermore, awareness of the need for species protection, or conservation con-
sciousnesswas found to play an important role in willingness to accept substitutions for
wild animal materials, while traditional animal medicinal materials (TAMs) derived from well-
known endangered species, such as bear bile and tiger bone, show relatively higher substi-
tutability. These results suggest that there is still hope for conservation measures which
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 1/19
OPEN ACCESS
Citation: Liu Z, Jiang Z, Fang H, Li C, Mi A, Chen J,
et al. (2016) Perception, Price and Preference:
Consumption and Protection of Wild Animals Used in
Traditional Medicine. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0145901.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901
Editor: Brock Bastian, University of Melbourne,
AUSTRALIA
Received: June 9, 2014
Accepted: November 5, 2015
Published: March 1, 2016
Copyright: © 2016 Liu et al. This is an open access
article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original author and source are
credited.
Data Availability Statement: If you are interested in
our research and want to get our data, please send
email to any author of this paper,we will send the data
to your immediately. Our data is large and complex,
and was saved into different excel sheets and folders.
So we must sorted out the data from the original
database according to your different requests and
then send them to you immediately.
Funding: This study was supported by the
Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-EW-Z-4), the Basic
Science Special Project of Ministry of Science and
Technology of China (2013FY110300), and the
seek to promote a transition to farmed animal, plant and synthetic ingredients and provide
clear directions for future social marketing, education and engagement efforts.
Introduction
A wide array of wildlife species, including many animals, are used in traditional medicines across
many medicinal systems [13]. In China, approximately 12,772 kinds of traditional Chinese
medicine (TCM) resources are used, including 1,574 (12.32%) kinds of animals [4]. The Chinese
Pharmacopoeia recognizes 616 kinds of medicinal materials and cut crude drugs, of which 52
are derived from animal sources [5]. Due to over-exploitation and habitat loss, the populations
of many animals commonly used in TCM have declined and are unable to meet market demand
[67]. This is significant because use of TCM is widespread and growing [1,4,67].
TCM accounts for approximately 80% of all over-the-counter(OTC) drugs in China [8],
(for which consumers do not require a prescription but rather can exercise their own judgment
in purchasing). Medicinal materials can be purchased at TCM shops, at markets for medicinal
materials, from online shops, and from many other sources. In rural areas, people may even
gather medicinal materials from the wild for their own use. Many TCM drugs are also used as
health foods (also known as health care products), to regulate bodily functions rather than to
treat disease. As such, diverse marketing channels exist for TCM materials [9].
A number of measures have been taken to try to reduce the impact that this large and grow-
ing market for TCM may have on wild animal species. The Chinese government has placed
161 wild animal species used in TCM on the Key National Protected Wild Animal List [4]. Due
to the need to protect their endangered sources, a number of ingredients once used in TCM,
such as tiger bone and rhinoceros horn, have also been deleted from the Chinese Pharmaco-
poeia in a series of revisions from 1963 to 2010 [5]. In addition, captive breeding programs and
research on synthetic sources of medicinal materials have been conducted in China since the
1950s in an attempt to reduce the impact of TCM on wild populations [6]. Social marketing
campaigns as strategies for changing public behavior [10] have also been instituted by a num-
ber of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and conservationists recently, with the pri-
mary aim of influencing and changing consumer attitudes and behaviors [1114], and some
studies also directed attention towards the possibility of farmed animals or other alternatives as
substitutes for wild ones, such as tiger bone and bear bile [3,1516].
The success of many of these conservation mechanisms remains uncertain. In particular,
while conservationists and TCM practitioners have recognized that pressure on wild popula-
tions may be relieved by captive breeding and the production of synthetic materials [1,7,15],
and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has also recog-
nized the important role of these methods, their ability to achieve conservation is as yet
unclear [1,3,1516]. Furthermore, consumer preferences are known to play an important role
in consumer buying behaviors in the wildlife trade [3,15,1718], and thus are likely to be a sig-
nificant factor in the success of many of these mechanismsparticularly given the significant
percentage of TCMs that are over-the-counter products (access to which is not mediated by
practitioners).
The factors influencing consumer behavior are highly complex and include consumption
need and motivations, perceptions, behavioral learning, attitudes, and socio-cultural factors
[1920]. Therefore, while it has been argued that social marketing strategies can serve as
powerful tools for publicity and education [1012,20] that can change the preferences and
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 2/19
Natural Science Foundation of China (No.
31372175).
Competing Interests: The authors have declared
that no competing interests exist.
behaviors of consumers and reduce the driving force for wildlife over-exploitation, but this is
still questionable because the changes in attitudes do not directly trigger behavioral changes
and there is still a gap between protection attitude and actual consumption behavior [11,21].
Indeed, despite the growing emphasis that has been placed in areas such as environmental
education or community-based conservation, there is as yet little literature on the subject of
human behavior and biodiversity conservation [11] and this is an important gap.
What little research has examined consumer perspectives on conservation of animals used
for TCM in fact suggests that consumer attitudes and beliefs may undermine a number of the
current conservation mechanisms. For example, existing research suggests that people may
prefer products produced from wild animals because they believe that wild materials are more
potent than farm-raised ones [3,16]. Accordingly, some researchers have argued that the ability
of farmed animal-based products, such as bear bile, to reduce demand for wild animal products
is at best limited [15]. Furthermore, while the price of TCM materials, particularly those
derived from animals, is increasing [22] and this might generally be thought to increase the
demand for substitutes [3,23], the ongoing and pervasive influence of ancient tenets of TCM
may mean consumers are in fact willing to pay a higher price for wild products rather than buy
cheaper farmed products or substitutes [15,1718]. Thus if current conservation mechanisms
including substitution and captive breeding programs are to be successful and social marketing
efforts appropriate designed and targeted [1112,20], a more in depth understanding of con-
sumer preferences and beliefs will be an important first step toward preventing unsustainable
wildlife consumption [19,24].
We therefore conducted this study to investigate consumer perceptions of animal materials
in TCM and in particular, to examine whether substitution of wild animal-based products
may be feasible. We sought to determine whether, and if so why, consumers prefer wild-sourced
animal materials and evaluate the acceptability of substitutes for wild-sourced animal species in
TCM. Thus, we examined our data with a view to answering the following research questions:
1. What are consumersknowledge and perceptions of medicinal animal materials?
2. Do consumers prefer wild, farmed or substitute medicinal materials, and why?
3. Can wild-sourced animals species used as TCM be substituted?
Methods
Ethics Statement
This study was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Committee of the Institute of Zoology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, and written informed consent was obtained from all respon-
dents (Permit Number is: IOZ11013). All procedures performed in this study were in accor-
dance with the instructions and permission of the Ethical Committee. All researchers and
investigators were certified before performing this study. All data collected through this study
remains anonymous and confidential. The study design and study reporting were conducted in
accordance with the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ) frame-
work [25]. The checklist was completed and is listed in S2 Appendix. Data are available upon
request due to ethical restrictions. Requests for the data may be sent to the corresponding
author (jiangzg@ioz.ac.cn).
Sampling Method
This study was conducted in Beijing in the summer of 2011. A stratified survey design was cho-
sen to randomly select neighborhoods and households from a sample frame, according to
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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random number table or using draw lots [26]. Interviewers obtained information about house-
holds from neighborhood committees before a random sampling was conducted; thus, no
repeat interviews were conducted in this survey.
Once a sample household was identified, a face-to-face interview was conducted at home
with randomly selected household members who were 18 years of age or older and had lived in
Beijing for at least one year [14]. Before each interview, the respondents completed a question-
naire without consulting other family members besides the respondents and researchers.
Respondents were given a gift as an acknowledgement of their participation after the 30 to 40
minute interview.
Members of our research group conducted the survey. In addition, we recruited and trained
investigators with a bachelors degree or higher and at least one year of work experience in a
professional market research company, (preferably in a conservation-related area) [15]. To
expedite this search, we also employed a polling firm to help us train investigators involved in
the study.
The interviews were randomly checked by supervisors on the spot to assure sampling nor-
malization. Interviews containing any omissions or errors were asked for a re-run. Interviews
were not deemed suitable for a re-run if it was determined that knowledge of the survey content
which respondents gain from the last round of survey would bias the results, for instance,
respondents may have gotten the right answers to the questions from the last round of the sur-
vey. Supervisors randomly selected 30% of the questionnaires to validate by telephone return
visit, to ensure that no fraud had taken place and eliminate unqualified questionnaires.
Questionnaire Design
The initial design of the questionnaire was modified based on the results of a pilot study on 11
Chinese postgraduate students at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and
also on a total of 30 adult residents who were randomly chosen. The questionnaire consisted of
5 parts: cover letter, completion instructions, questions, answers, and coding [27]. An objective
and neutral manner was used to describe and present the questions to avoid prejudicing the
respondentsanswers. The cover letter introduced the researcher, the primary purpose of the
investigation, and the main contents of the investigation. Before each interview, we emphasized
2 key points: (i) there was no right or wrong answer to each question; (ii) all information col-
lected through the questionnaire would remain anonymous and confidential [27]. The instruc-
tions for completing the questionnaire, in addition to providing rules for answering the
questions, also defined TCM terminology used throughout the questionnaire. Questions were
arranged in order corresponding to the underlying research objectives and were presented on
separate pages. Prior to the interview, interviewees were not allowed to browse the question-
naire to avoid the possibility of that their answers might be influenced.
We conceived and designed the questionnaire for this investigation [27] (see S3 Appendix).
First, we investigated how the respondents perceived traditional animal medicinal materials
(TAMs) and proprietary Chinese medicines (PCMs). We listed 34 types of commonly used
TAMs (including 5 types of artificially bred materials) and 21 types of PCMs (11 of which con-
tain plant-based medicinal compositions only, while the other 10 also contain TAMs, S1
Appendix). We then asked whether respondents had heard of and used TAMs and inquired
about their perception of the curative effects of TAMs and their willingness to use these materi-
als. Respondents were then asked to identify the correct function of each TAM by choosing the
correct answer from a prepared list of functions quoted from the Chinese Pharmacopoeia [5].
We also inquired how well the respondents knew the indications and compositions of PCMs.
A seven-point Likert scale was employed as a data collection instrument for attitude questions.
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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This part of the investigation helped respondents better understand and describe their own
knowledge of TCMs in preparation for answering the subsequent stated preference questions
[15].
We also designed stated preference experiments embodying three different scenarios to
elicit consumer preferences, and a choice experiment approach was also used to collect data
[19,28]. In order to elicit estimates respondents preferences and willingness to choose medi-
cines, the stated preference investigation had two parts. The first encouraged respondents to
recall their experiences and knowledge of TCMs; the second elicited their preferences using a
choice experiment and then respondents were debriefed to gain insight into the reasoning
behind their choices [15]. We asked respondents to recall their experiences with purchasing or
taking non-prescription TCMs, an illness scenario was described and participants were then
instructed to imagine the following 3 scenarios before entering choice experiments: I am suf-
fering from a disease and feeling a discomfort, and I need to purchase non-prescription TCMs
for treatment.Respondents were then offered choice experiments in which a series of ques-
tions and corresponding sets of options from which participants could choose [15,19]. The 3
scenarios were as follows:
Scenario 1. The respondent was required to purchase 9 TCM products, including 3 types
of TAMs, 2 TCM prescriptions, 2 PCMs, and 2 TCM health care products. Each TCM product
contained TAMs from a wild animal, farmed animal, or substitute. It was explained that in this
scenario these materials all had the same or very similar curative effects, and their prices were
all affordable. To estimate consumer preferences, the respondent was asked to select their pref-
erence from 4 options: wild,farmed,substitute,orwhatevermaterials. If substitute
or whateverwere selected, the respondent then selected among 5 types of substitute materi-
als, including wild animal,farmed animal,wild plant,farmed plant,synthetic,or
whatever. After making a choice, the respondent was then asked to explain their choice.
Scenario 2. The respondent was required to choose their preferred TAM from either
wild,farmed,other animal materialsas a substitute, plant materialas a substitute, syn-
theticor whatevermaterial under the following sets of conditions: (i) both the curative
effects and prices of the TAMs were identical; (ii) the TAMs had identical curative effects but
prices that decreased in the order presented above; and (iii) the TAMs had identical prices but
curative effects that increased in the order presented above. These sets of conditions were then
revisited in the context of purchasing 3 specific animal materialsmusk, deer antler velvet,
and bear bile.
Scenario 3. The overall setup of this scenario remained the same as in Scenario 1, except
that respondents were asked beforehand which TAMs should be protected. The proportion of
respondents who believed that a certain TAM must be protected was used as an indicator of
the conservation consciousnessof that respondent.
Finally, we asked respondents how much attention they paid to the following aspects of
TCM products: (i) curative effects, (ii) functions and indications, (iii) TAM or non-TAM as
composition, (iv) price, (v) reputation, and/or (vi) side effects. The level of attention was mea-
sured using a seven-point Likert scale [19]. We also gathered the respondents demographic
variables [27], including gender, age, occupation, monthly income, educational level, native
place, and urban/rural origin.
Field notes were made, and feedback from respondents was obtained during the interview
by the interviewer [29]. The questionnaire was checked after each interview in the field. Audio
or visual recording was not used to collect the data because most of the respondents were able
to complete the questionnaire in writing without oral interviews. We coded the data using a
coding manual to guide data entry. A total of 194 data coders coded the data. The data were
further checked in the database for manual typing errors. During the investigation process, we
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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prepared and analyzed the data in several rounds in advance to determine whether data satura-
tion was achieved [25].
Statistical Analyses
An ordinal logistic regression model was used to estimate the relationship between the demo-
graphic variables and the use of TAMs. Unordered categorical variables including gender,
career, birth place and urban/rural origin were transformed into dummy variables. As ordered
categorical variables, age, income, and educational level were quantified as 1, 2, 3,.... The num-
ber of types of TAMs the respondents had used was divided into 3 levels (less than 3, between 3
and 4, and more than 4), which were denoted as 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
To explore consumer perceptions, variables including whether respondents had heard of or
used TAMs and PCMs and their knowledge of TAM functions or PCM compositions were fit-
ted using regression models and probability distribution models. Moreover, correlation and
regression analyses were conducted to evaluate how having heard of or used TAMs and PCMs
affected respondentsperceptions of TAM functions and PCM composition to facilitate an
understanding of respondentsperceptions of TCM [30].
In different scenarios, to explore the substitutability of wild TAMs, we established curvilin-
ear regression models for the frequencies of choosing wild,farmed, and substitutesand a
binary linear regression model among the frequencies of choosing these three sources. Curvi-
linear, binary logistic and nonlinear regression models were established to estimate the rela-
tionship between the frequencies of choosing different medicinal materials and conservation
consciousness,effect level, and price levelto explore how these factors impact consumer
preferences [30]. Moreover, the frequencies of choosing wild, farmed, and substitute sources
and the degree of conservation consciousness were estimated using probability distribution
models. Then, bivariate joint probability distribution models using Ali-Mikhail-Haq (AMH)
copula were built to demonstrate how the distribution characteristics and substitutability of
TAMs changed. The following formula was used for the AMH copula:
Cðu;v;yÞ¼uv=½1yð1uÞð1vÞ;y1;þ1
where uand vare the marginal distributions of the probability functions; θis a parameter; and
τis the correlation coefcient, which was calculated as follows [31]:
t¼ð12=3yÞ2=3ð11=yÞ2ln ð1yÞ
Principal component analysis (PCA) and detrended canonical correspondence analysis
(DCCA) were performed to analyze the relationship between consumerspreferences for differ-
ent medicinal materials and the reasons for those preferences to identify the major influencing
factors.
Akaikes information criterion was used to determine the optimal model [32]. Prior to
model fitting, data that were not normally distributed or were skewed were transformed by tak-
ing the squared root of the data if they were concentrated near 0 or taking the arcsine of per-
centage data [30]. SPSS17.0, MATLAB R2009b, CANOCO4.5, and Excel 2003 were adopted to
conduct the statistical analysis and construct statistical graphs.
Results
Logistic Regression of Demographic Information and Use of TAMs
A total of 1,100 questionnaires were issued, with 912 valid responses and a return rate of
82.91% (excluding incomplete or incorrectly completed questionnaires). The gender ratio was
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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slightly biased toward women at 52.08%, compared to 48.38% females in the population in Bei-
jing [33]. The ordinal logistic regression model showed statistical significance (χ
2
= 96.586,
df = 14, p<0.001), where the Cox & Snell R
2
and Nagelkerke R
2
were, respectively, 0.100 and
0.113, larger than 10%, and a proportional odds assumption was established (χ
2
= 14.466,
df = 14, p>0.05). Age demonstrated a significant impact on the use of TAMs; the regression
coefficient was 0.402 (p<0.01) (Table 1). In particular, older people were significantly more
likely to use TAMs than young people (Kruskal-Wallis H:χ
2
= 87.594, df =4,p<0.01). Other
demographic variables, including gender, age, occupation, monthly income, native place, and
urban/rural origin, showed no significant influence on the use of TAMs (p>0.05).
Respondent Awareness of TAMs
All respondents had heard of at least 2 types of TAMs; 96.49% had used at least 1 type of TAM,
65.02% had used 25 types of TAMs, 29.17% were unaware of TAM functions, and 65.90%
knew the functions of 16 types of TAMs. Taking the respondents as a sample (n= 912), there
were significant differences among the numbers of TAMs that respondents had heard of
(16.058±0.262), used (4.129±0.102), and knew the function of (2.209±0.077) (Kruskal-Wallis
H:χ
2
= 1739.161, df =2,p<0.01). The numbers of TAMs that respondents had heard of, used,
and knew the function of obeyed different function models (S1a Fig). These results demon-
strated that most respondents had heard of and used some TAMs but did not know their
functions.
There was a low positive correlation between the numbers of TAMs for which respondents
knew the function of and had heard of (r= 0.167, p<0.01) or used (r= 0.246, p<0.01) (S1b
Fig). Taking TAMs as a sample (n= 34), the rate of respondents who knew the functions of
TAMs was moderately positively correlated with the rate of those who had heard of (r= 0.679,
p<0.01) or used (r= 0.637, p<0.01) them, as fit by linear (R
2
= 0.485, F= 30.144, p<0.01; AIC
= -141.114) and logarithmic models (R
2
= 0.450, F= 26.140, p<0.01; AIC = -138.850), respec-
tively (S1d Fig). The proportion of TAMs for which the function was known by less than 10%
of respondents was greater than 85%. These results indicated that the frequency with which
respondents had heard of or used TAMs showed little effect on knowledge of function. There
were also significant differences in trust level (4.227±0.024), curative effects (4.644±0.023),
and willingness to use (4.747±0.025) among the respondents (n= 912) (χ
2
= 279.108, df =2,
p<0.01), and the mean of intention to use was the highest (p<0.01), indicating that the respon-
dents were willing to use TAMs.
Respondent Awareness of PCM
All respondents had heard of at least 2 types of PCMs; 97.81% had used at least 1 type of PCM,
67.76% had used 27 types of PCMs. 64.14% of respondents did not know the composition of
any PCMs, and 16.78% of respondents knew the composition of only 1 type of PCM. There
were significant differences among the numbers of PCMs that respondents (n= 912) had
heard of (16.603±0.063), used (5.330±0.072), and knew the compositions of (0.595±0.037)
(χ
2
= 2083.817, df =2,p<0.01). The numbers of PCMs that respondents had heard of and
used, and the numbers of respondents who knew the compositions of PCMs obeyed different
function models (S2a Fig). These results demonstrated that most respondents had heard of and
used some PCMs but did not know their compositions.
The number of PCMs that respondents (n= 912) knew the compositions of was slightly
positively correlated with the numbers of PCMs that respondents had heard of (r= 0.120,
p<0.01) or used (r= 0.099, p<0.01) (S2b Fig). Taking PCMs as a sample (n= 21), the rate of
respondents who knew the composition of PCMs was moderately positively correlated with
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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the number who had heard of (r= 0.569, p<0.01; R
2
= 0.459, F= 16.098, p<0.01; AIC =
-180.416) or used PCMs (r= 0.680, p<0.01; R
2
= 0.534, F= 21.784, p<0.01; AIC = -185.520)
(S2d Fig). However, 80% of respondents knew less than 5% of the composition of PCMs. These
results indicated that the frequency with which the respondents had heard of or used PCMs
had little impact on knowledge of their compositions. The score for willingness to use (4.627
±0.027) was significantly higher than that for curative effects (4.610±0.022) among the respon-
dents (n= 912) (Z= -3.068, p<0.01), indicating that the respondents were willing to use
PCMs. In response to the question How well do you know the functions and indications of
PCMs?, 48.46% responded fully know, 39.95% answered a little, and 11.59% responded
nothing.
Participant Preferences and Attention Indices
There were also significant differences among the 7 attention indices when respondents pur-
chased TCM products (p<0.01). In particular, respondents paid more attention to curative
effects (5.222±0.022), functions and indications (5.186±0.021), and side effects (5.272±0.023)
than other indices (p<0.05) and less attention to the composition of TAMs (2.661±0.030) and
non-TAMs (2.622±0.031) (p<0.05).
Respondent Preferences and Substitutability of TAMs, Scenario 1
In Scenario 1, there were significant differences among the selection frequencies for TAMs
from different sources (one-way ANOVA: F= 1176.538, df = 227, p<0.01). More consumers
chose wildsource (0.576±0.009) than farmed(0.237±0.006) (Independent Sample TTest:
t= 30.167, df= 112, p<0.01) and more farmedsource than substitute(0.121±0.007)
(t= 12.57, df= 112, p<0.01). The ratio of consumers that chose whateverwas the smallest
(0.066±0.002) (p<0.01) (Fig 1a). These results demonstrated that most respondents prefer
TAMs made from wild source than other sources or their substitutes. The selection frequencies
Table 1. Correlates of the use of TCMs derived from wild animals (ordinal logistic regression model).
Variable Coefcient S.E.Wald P value
Used less than 2 animal materials 0.396 0.374 1.122 0.289
Used 3 to 4 animal materials 1.892 0.379 24.867 0.000
Age 0.401 0.060 43.903 0.000
Education level 0.070 0.073 0.917 0.338
Monthly income 0.077 0.068 1.287 0.257
Male -0.163 0.128 1.608 0.205
Professionals -0.328 0.266 1.524 0.217
Clerical staff and related workers 0.129 0.273 0.225 0.635
Commercial and service staff 0.194 0.245 0.631 0.427
Production and transport equipment operators 0.010 0.293 0.001 0.972
Northeast China 0.240 0.291 0.682 0.409
East China -0.155 0.213 0.530 0.466
Beijing -0.061 0.213 0.083 0.774
North China -0.220 0.197 1.245 0.264
Western China -0.165 0.266 0.382 0.537
Rural 0.056 0.143 0.155 0.693
-2Log Likelihood: 1695.157. AIC: 1711.157.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.t001
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
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of the different possible substitutes were also significantly different (F= 137.23, df = 341,
p<0.01). Synthetic(0.293±0.011) and whatever(0.294±0.012) were chosen more often
than others(p<0.01), but there was no significant difference between syntheticand what-
ever(t= -0.104, df = 112, p>0.05). The selection frequency of wild animal(0.060±0.006)
was the lowest (p<0.01), and no significant difference (F= 0.510, df = 170, p>0.05) was
observed between the choice of farmed animal(0.117±0.007), wild plant(0.123±0.007),
and farmed plant(0.113±0.006) substitutes (Fig 1b). These results indicated that when
respondents were willing to choose substitute, they prefer synthetic than other sources of avail-
able substitutes.
The selection frequency of wildwas negatively correlated with that of farmed(r
pearson
=
-0.735, p<0.01) and substitute(r
pearson
= -0.668, p<0.01), and the selection frequencies were
fitted by the inverse model as y
wild
= 0.346+0.052/x
farmed
(R
2
= 0.464; F= 47.527, p<0.01, AIC
= -334.483) and the exponential model as y
wild
= 0.711e
-1.798xsubstitute
(R
2
= 0.562; F= 70.475,
p<0.01, AIC = -334.718) (Fig 2a and 2b), respectively. The selection frequencies of wild(y)
with farmed(x
1
) and substitute(x
2
) were fitted by the binary linear regression model as
y= 0.9200.956x
1
-0.968x
2
(R
2
= 0.942; F= 442.059, p<0.01, AIC = -459.714) (Fig 2d). These
results demonstrated that wild source of TAMs presented different degrees of substitutability.
There were also significant differences among the selection frequencies of the different
sources for the 57 TCM products (crosstabs test: χ
2
= 421.865, df = 168, p<0.01). The selection
frequencies of different sources and substitutes were fitted by probability distribution func-
tions, which revealed that all the curves concentrated in different zones (Fig 1c and 1d). Then,
joint probability distribution models were built for wild-farmed(r= 0.944, p<0.01; R
2
=
0.892, regression coefficient = 1.025, AIC = -336.156) and wild-substitute(r= 0.963, p<0.01;
R
2
= 0.928, regression coefficient = 1.063, AIC = -339.162). The empirical accumulative proba-
bility fit the theoretical accumulative probability well. Compared with the probability function
graph for wild-substitute, that for wild-farmeddemonstrated larger ycoordinates (Fig 2c),
which indicated that wildsource was more likely to be replaced by farmedthan
substitute.
Reasons for Selection Preference
The selection frequencies of wild,farmed,substitute, and whateverwere 57.18%,
24.45%, 11.75%, and 6.61%, respectively. The reasons for choosing wildwere more credible
effect(36.53%), natural(8.86%), fewer side effects(7.36%), and more traditional
(2.97%). The reasons for choosing farmedwere protecting endangered animals(6.04%),
more credible effects(5.53%), more hygienic(4.80%) and fewer side effects(3.27%). The
main reason for choosing substitutewas protecting endangered animals(5.40%) (Fig 3a).
Higher selection frequencies were observed for different substitutes, approximately 29.91%
for syntheticand 29.06% for whatever, followed by wild plants(12.41%), farmed plants
(11.32%), farmed animals(11.27%), and wild animals(6.04%). The main reasons for
choosing syntheticwere protecting endangered animals(9.68%) and protecting endan-
gered plants(7.07%). The reasons for choosing wild plantsor farmed plantswere pro-
tecting endangered animalsand acceptable medicinal materials. The reasons for choosing
farmed animalswere protecting endangered animals(3.23%) and acceptable TAMs
(2.75%) (Fig 3b).
The results of the PCA of respondent preferences for TCM products from different sources
and substitutes indicated that the accumulative variance contributions of the first two principal
components were more than 90.0%. The preference of the respondent for wild,farmed,
and substituteincreased along the direction of arrows a, b, and c, respectively (Fig 4a).
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 9/19
Different TCM products were located in different zones of the coordinate plane, which indi-
cated different preferences. Coordinated points of 4 types of TCM products containing tiger
bone or bear bile (numbered as 8, 13, 51, 52) were located in the direction of arrow c, which
indicated that the substitutability of tiger bone or bear bile was higher than that of other TCM
products (Fig 4a).
The results of DCCA for respondentspreferences and reasons showed that accumulative
variance contributions of the first two principal axles were as high as 89.5%. Arrows FE (which
indicates that the reason for choosing farmedwas protecting endangered animals), SE
(which indicates that the reason for choosing substitutewas protecting endangered ani-
mals) and WA (which indicates that the reason for choosing wildwas credible effects)
were highly correlated with the first axis, and the correlation coefficients were 0.6032, 0.8790,
and -0.8112, respectively, indicating that the factors that drove respondentspreferences for
wild,farmed, and substituteincreased along the directions of arrows WA, FE and SE,
respectively. Different TCM products located in different zones in the coordinate plane were
influenced by different causes. A coordinated point for four types of medicines containing tiger
bone or bear bile (numbered as 8, 13, 51, and 52) was located in the direction of arrow SE, indi-
cating that respondents chose substitutefor these materials mainly for the reason of protect-
ing endangered animals(Fig 4b).
Fig 1. Selection frequency of TCMs derived from different sources and substitutes by the respondents. (a) Selection frequency of different sources;
(b) Selection frequency of different substitutes; (c) Probability distribution models of different sources; (d) Probability distribution models of different
substitutes. Different letters show significant differences. In (c), the step lengths were as follows: wild: 0.05; farmed: 0.03; substitute: 0.03; whatever: 0.01. In
(d), the step length were as follows: wild animals: 0.03; farmed animals: 0.03; wild plants: 0.03; farmed plants: 0.03; synthetic: 0.03; whatever: 0.05.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g001
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 10 / 19
Effects of Conservation Consciousness
In Scenarios 1 and 3, conservation consciousnessof TAMs (n= 29) was negatively correlated
with the frequency of choosing wildsources (Scenario 1: r= -0.803, p<0.01; Scenario 3: r=
-0.924, p<0.01) and was positively correlated with the frequency of choosing substitute
sources (Scenario 1: r= 0.757, p<0.01; Scenario 3: r= 0.937, p<0.01). There was also a negative
correlation between the frequencies of choosing wildand substitute(Scenario 1: r= -0.817,
p<0.01; Scenario 3: r= -0.937, p<0.01). Comparing Scenario 3 with Scenario 1, the regression
curve of substitutesand conservation consciousnessshifted upward (Fig 5b), while the
regression curve of wildand conservation consciousnessshifted downward (Fig 5a), as did
the regression curve of wildand substitute(Fig 5c). The frequencies of choosing wild(z)
with conservation consciousness(x) and substitute(y) were in accordance with function
z= 0.737e
-x/4.106
e
-y/0.883
(R
2
= 0.763, F= 41.925, df = 26, p<0.01, SSE = 0.0425, AIC = -183.235)
in Scenario 1 and function z= 0.637e
-x/1.606
e
-y/0.504
(R
2
= 0.948, F= 238.264, df = 26, p<0.01,
SSE = 0.0419, AIC = -183.662) in Scenario 3 (Fig 5d), indicating that conservation conscious-
nessinfluenced respondent preference.
The selection frequency of wildin Scenario 1 was significantly higher than that in Scenario
3 (paired-sample t test: t= 25.041, p<0.01), and the selection frequency of farmed(t= -3.573,
Fig 2. Relationship between the selection frequency of TCMs composed of wild or farmed materials
or a substitute. (a) TCMs composed of wild and farmed materials; (b) TCMs composed of wild and substitute
materials; (c) Joint probability distribution models for TCMs composed of wild materials and substitutes and
TCMs composed of wild and farmed materials; the step lengths were 0.0001; (d) Relationship among the
respondents who chose wild, farmed, or substitute material.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g002
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 11 / 19
p<0.01) or substitute(t= -8.902, p<0.01) was smaller than that in Scenario 3. Joint probabil-
ity distribution models were built for wild-conservation consciousness(Scenario 1:r= 0.922,
p<0.01; R
2
= 0.850, regression coefficient = 1.166, AIC = -160.302; Scenario 2: r= 0.790,
p<0.01; R
2
= 0.625, regression coefficient = 1.055, AIC = -136.802), wild-farmed(Scenario 1:
r= 0.933, p<0.01; R
2
= 0.871, regression coefficient = 0.936, AIC = -174.665; Scenario 2:
r= 0.967, p<0.01; R
2
= 0.935, Variable coefficient = 1.113, AIC = -168.338), and wild-substi-
tute(Scenario 1: r= 0.796, p<0.01; R
2
= 0.633, regression coefficient = 0.902, AIC = -156.200;
Scenario 2: r=0.822,p<0.01; R
2
= 0.675, regression coefficient = 0.939, AIC = -158.889). The
probability function graph for Scenario 3 was shifted toward the direction of a higher selection
frequency of wildcompared to that for Scenario 1 (Fig 6a, 6b and 6c).
Effects of Price and Curative Effect on the Consumption of TAMs in
Scenario 2
In different sub-scenarios of Scenario 2, respondents displayed different choice preferences
(CochransQ:p<0.01). In sub-scenario (i), respondents preferred to choose wild(0.317±0.013)
Fig 3. Selection frequency of different sources and substitutes of TCMs and the reasons for those decisions. (a) TCMs derived from different
sources; (b) TCMs derived from different substitutes. A: curative effect is more credible; B: less side effects; C: tradition; D: used or heard of, knew better; E:
protecting endangered animals; F: natural; G: farmed is acceptable; H: animal welfare reasons; I: dislike animal material; J: more hygienic; K: TAMs;L:
acceptable medicinal materials; M: protecting endangered plants; N: dislike medicinal plant materials; O: other reasons; P: whatever.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g003
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 12 / 19
and whatever(0.284±0.022) (Kruskal-Wallis H:χ
2
= 20.210, df =5,p<0.01) (Mann-Whitney
U:p<0.01) (Fig 7a); in sub-scenario (ii), respondents preferred to choose synthetic(0.441
±0.029) (χ
2
= 10.300, df =4,p<0.01) (p<0.01) (Fig 7b); and in sub-scenario (iii), respondents
preferred to choose synthetic(0.618±0.011) (χ
2
= 17.500, df =4,p<0.01) (p<0.01) (Fig 7c).
There were significant differences in consumer preference between sub-scenario (ii) and sub-
scenario (i) (crosstabs χ
2
test: χ
2
= 220.347, df =4,p<0.01) and between sub-scenario (iii) and
sub-scenario (i) (χ
2
= 544.074, df =4,p<0.01). The selection frequency was also significantly
negatively correlated with price level in sub-scenario (ii) (r= -0.775, p<0.01), whereas the selec-
tion frequency was positively correlated with effect level in sub-scenario (iii) (r= -0.876,
p<0.01). Binary logistic regression demonstrated that both curative effect and price had signifi-
cant impacts on respondent choice (Table 2). The change rates of selection frequency between
sub-scenario (ii), sub-scenario (iii), and sub-scenario (i) were calculated, and an exponential
function was chosen to fit the relationship between price (x) and the change rate of selection
frequency (y): y= 2.301x
-1.318
0.6979 (SSE = 2.082, R
2
= 0.8414, AIC = -39.248) (Fig 7d), as
well as effect (x) and the change rate of selection frequency (y): y= 8.309E-04x
5.179
0.7141
(SSE = 3.865, R
2
= 0.8988, AIC = -26.875) (Fig 7e).
Discussion
Despite consuming TCMs, respondents in our study demonstrated minimal understanding of
the function and composition of TCMs and PCMs. Although respondents claimed to pay
attention to the curative effects, functions and indications of TCM products when making pur-
chasing choices, they demonstrated little knowledge about TCMs, particularly their composi-
tion. This suggests that respondents preferred to simply take TCMs in a manner similar to
using a computer simply by clicking the mouse without an understanding of the computers
hardware configuration and computing principles.
If respondentspreferences for TCMs are solely determined by their curative effects, one
might expect them to have no concern about the use of substitutes rather than original materials,
Fig 4. PCA and DCCA analysis of the frequency of choosing different sources and substitutes of TCMs and the reasons for those decisions. (a) In
this figure (PCA), letters represent different sources: a: wild; b: farmed; c: substitute; d: whatever. Letters also represent different substitutes: e: wild animals;
f: farmed animals; g: wild plants; h: farmed plants; i: synthetic; j: whatever. (b) In this figure (DCCA), the first letter represents the source, and the second letter
represents the reason for the decision. The reasons are the same as those in Fig 5; the numbers indicate different TCMs (see S1 Appendix).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g004
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 13 / 19
Fig 5. Relationship between the frequency of choosing different sources or substitutes of TCMs and
conservation consciousness (CC). (a) between the selection frequency of TCMs composed of wild
materials and CC; (b) between the selection frequency of TCMs composed of substitutes and CC; (c)
between the selection frequency of TCMs composed of substitutes and wild materials; (d) the relationship
selection frequency of TCMs composed of substitutes and wild materials and CC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g005
Fig 6. In Scenarios 1 and 3, the joint probability distributions models are shown for the selection frequency of (a) TCMs composed of wild or farmed
materials; (b) TCMs composed of wild materials or substitutes; (c) TCMs composed of wild materials and protection (CC). The step lengths were 0.0001.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g006
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 14 / 19
so long as the curative effects are identical. However, our results demonstrated a stated prefer-
ence amongst respondents for TAMs derived from wild animals. This preference was most com-
monly attributed to a belief that TAMs derived from wild animals are more effective than
materials from other sources. In contrast, only a few respondents appeared to be motivated by
conservation consciousness to choose substitutes or synthetic materials. This is consistent with
existing research indicating that consumers of TCM prefer products made from wild sources
Fig 7. Results of Scenario 2. Selection frequency of the respondents in sub-scenario. (i) (a). Holding curative effects and price constant, the
respondent was required to buy TAMs from a, b, c, d, and e; (ii) (b). Holding curative effects constant, the prices decreased in a, b, c, d, and e in turn; (iii) (c).
Holding prices constant, the curative effects increased in a, b, c, d, and e in turn. As prices decreased, the ratesof respondent choices relative to condition (i)
are shown (d). As curative effects increased, the rates of respondent choices relative to sub-scenario (i) are shown (e). The numbers on the horizontal axis
show the levels of price and curative effects; the larger the number, the higher the level. Letters stand for sources of medicine materials: a: wild; b: farm; c:
other animal materials as substitute; d: plant material as substitute; e: synthetic; f: whatever.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.g007
Table 2. Binary logistic model of choice frequency against price and curative effect in Scenario 3.
Variable Coefcients S.E.Wald P value
Curative effect 1.033 0.039 696.047 <0.01
Intercept -5.006 0.161 963.914 <0.01
Price -0.397 0.028 204.657 <0.01
Intercept -0.226 0.080 7.940 <0.01
Choice frequency against curative effect: AIC: 4,649.624, Correct No 90.89%, Correct 61.84%, Total Correct 84.89%, Cutoff 0.5. Choice frequency
against price: AIC: 4,688.368, Correct No 100%, Correct 0%, Total Correct 79.00%, Cutoff 0.5.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901.t002
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 15 / 19
and believe such products are more potent [3,16]. TCM professionals have played an important
role in fostering and reinforcing this belief that wild medicinal materials are always more effec-
tive, more natural, and have fewer side effects [3,1516,3436].
In contrast to previous studies that measured consumer preferences based on demand func-
tions [15,37], our study aimed to uncover the factors that shape consumer preferences and
change consumer behavior. Our research suggests that TCM consumers may balance the trade-
off between the preference for wild sources on the basis of perceived effectiveness and the need
to choose substitutes to protect endangered wildlife before making TCM purchasing decisions.
Indeed, our results indicate that TAMs have varying degrees of substitutability. More
farmed or alternative materials were selected by consumers, indicating the better substitutabil-
ity of wild materials. The degree of substitutability of varying animal materials changed follow-
ing certain patterns and there was a probability for the substitution of each TAM (Fig 2).
Furthermore, our study also suggests that consumers may be more willing to choose substitutes
for TAMs derived from highly publicized endangered wildlife, such as tiger bone and bear
bile. This is in stark contrast to arguments other scholars have made on the basis of previous
research that demand for wild bear bile cannot be reduced by the availability of farmed bear
bile [15].
It has previously been argued that conservation awareness has an important impact on con-
sumer behavior in the context of wildlife trade [24,38] and that therefore public education can
be a powerful tool for raising conservation consciousness and changing consumer behavior
[24,3839]. Our results did suggest that conservation consciousness and a desire to protect
endangered animals were significant factors in the choice to adopt substitutes to wild sourced
TAMs. As their conservation consciousness increased, the respondents were more likely to
choose substitutes and less likely to choose wild-source TAMs (Fig 5). Thus, emphasizing con-
servation concerns has great potential for increasing the substitution of TAMs derived from
wild sources (Fig 6). This indicates that there may indeed be a place for conservation awareness
raising efforts to impact on consumer consumption of wildlife products [13,40]. However, it is
important to recognize that the relationship between public education efforts and behvaiour
change is complex and may require numerous engagement strategies [10,12,20].
Price has the potential to significantly affect consumer preferences and choice behavior by
impacting on consumer buying intention and satisfaction [19]. However, contrary to the pre-
dictions of supply-side conservation [3], previous research has demonstrated that TCM con-
sumers are willing to pay high prices to buy wild-sourced TAMs because they believe those
products are more potent [1516,35]. We observed that respondents were in fact price-con-
scious and more likely to choose the cheapest option available, i.e., synthetic materials. As the
prices of wild-sourced TAMs increase, consumers tend to choose alternatives [18,23,41]. How-
ever, importantly, curative effects had an even more powerful, positive impact on consumer
choice, which overrode price-consciousness for some respondents.
We believe that it is perhaps time to reframe our view of endangered wildlife from a supply-
centric perspective to a demand-centric one which places a focus on consumer behavior change
at the heart of our strategies to tackle the threat to endangered wildlife [11,13]. Our study con-
firms the results of previous research that has documented a preference among TCM consum-
ers for wild sourced ingredients. However, while other researchers have taken this as evidence
of the fruitlessness of substitution strategies, by placing this preference within the context of
more in depth data regarding consumersknowledge, beliefs and stated preferences, our results
reveal that significant potential for substitution remains. If future research confirms our find-
ing that whilst consumers express a preference for wild products on the basis of a belief in the
increased efficacy of such products, they in fact have little knowledge of and pay scant attention
to the composition of the products they buy, this would suggest that there is considerable room
Perception and Preference of Wild Animals in Traditional Medicine
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145901 March 1, 2016 16 / 19
for a transition to farmed animal, plant and synthetic ingredients in many of these products.
Furthermore, the significant role that conservation consciousness played in the willingness of
respondents to accept substitutes for wild animals, the greater willingness to accept substitutes
for highly visible endangered species such as rhinoceros and tiger, and the role of the belief in
the increased efficacy of wild ingredients, provide clear directions for future social marketing,
education and engagement efforts.
Supporting Information
S1 Appendix. TCM products and its animal material compositions.
(DOCX)
S2 Appendix. Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative studies (COREQ): 32-item
checklist.
(DOC)
S3 Appendix. Social survey questionnaire.
(DOC)
S1 Fig. Respondentsperception and use of TAMs.
(DOC)
S2 Fig. Respondentsperception and use of PCMs.
(DOC)
Acknowledgments
This study was supported by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sci-
ences (KSCX2-EW-Z-4), the Basic Science Special Project of Ministry of Science and Technol-
ogy of China (2013FY110300), and the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31372175).
We are grateful for the recommendations from the members of the expert panel for this proj-
ect. We are very grateful to Dr. Bronwen Morrell from Sydney University for so good sugges-
tions and making such great contribution to modify and edit our manuscript. We thank all
members of the Wildlife and Behavioral Ecology Group, IOZ/CAS and all investigators who
participated in the investigation.
Author Contributions
Conceived and designed the experiments: ZL ZJ AM. Performed the experiments: ZL AM HF
XZ SC DC. Analyzed the data: ZL ZJ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: CWL JC
XP FL CLL ST ZHL YZ ZM. Wrote the paper: ZL ZJ.
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Supplementary resources (5)

Article
The use of animal derivatives in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dates back more than 5000 years. Donkey skins are one such animal derivative, the skins are used to produce ejiao, which is a luxury product and believed by some to have a variety of health benefits. The increasing demand for ejiao is putting the global donkey population at risk. In China between 1990 and 2018 the donkey population decreased by 77 per cent, as a consequence donkeys are largely being sourced from Africa to meet the demand. In low and middle‐income countries donkeys are a valuable livelihood asset. Research has emerged highlighting the potential detrimental impacts of the loss of donkeys on livelihoods. In addition to the impact on communities, the trade presents a number of signifcant health and welfare concerns to donkeys. Methods for raising awareness, reducing demand and challenging and enforcing policy are all needed to reduce the impact of the donkey skin trade. Policy change needs to be bottom up, with local bans in countries where the trade is most damaging and coordinated enforcement of legislation, including the tackling of illegal cross border trade. Partnership across non‐governmental organisations, agencies and government is essential.
Article
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Abstrak. Pemanfaatan sumber daya alam tidak sepenuhnya mengedepankan prinsip lingkungan, padahal ekosistem memiliki keanekaragaman hayati termasuk virus berbahaya yang bersifat zoonosis. Kemunculan pandemi Covid-19 dipercaya akibat zoonosis yang menyebar dan menginfeksi jutaan manusia. Penelitian ini dilakukan untuk menganalisis keterkaitan antara pandemi dengan eksploitasi alam, menggunakan metode literatur review dari artikel, dokumen pemerintah, laporan lembaga, working paper, serta informasi resmi WHO dan Satgas Covid-19 RI. Terbukti ada keterkaitan antara pandemi Covid-19 dengan eksploitasi alam. Eksploitasi mempersempit habitat dan menekan kehidupan, organisme merespons dengan ekspansi mencari habitat baru yang sering kali lebih dekat dengan manusia. Eksploitasi memfasilitasi satwa liar sebagai host alami atau perantara virus zoonosis. Hasil analisis homolog SARS-CoV-2 memiliki kemiripan genom lengkap 93,7%, ORF1ab 96,5%, protein N 96,9%, dan spike protein 92,86% dengan coronavirus dari kelelawar (Rhinolophus affinis Horsfield, 1823). Spesies ini tersebar di Asia Selatan dan Tenggara, dipercaya sebagai obat tradisional penyakit pernafasan. Penggunaan satwa liar sebagai obat harus dibatasi, karena dalam praktiknya banyak perdagangan satwa liar secara ilegal yang berisiko zoonosis dan berpotensi memunculkan epidemi maupun pandemi. Hal ini dapat ditanggulangi apabila stabilitas ekosistem dijaga dan tersedia habitat yang proporsional untuk organisme lain, sehingga terjadi interaksi yang harmonis dan berkelanjutan. Kata kunci: eksploitasi alam, manusia, pandemi Covid-19, stabilitas ekosistem, zoonosis Abstract. Exploitation does not completely environmentally principles, ecosystems store biodiversity, including dangerous zoonotic viruses. The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to be zoonotic that spreads infecting a hundred million people. This study was conducted to analyse the relationship between pandemic and exploitation, using a literature review of articles, documents, reports, papers, WHO information, and the Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force. There is a proven connection between the Covid-19 pandemic and the exploitation of nature. It narrows or even eliminates habitats and suppresses their lives, organisms respond by the expansion that is often closer to humans. Exploitation facilitates organisms as natural or intermediate hosts that have the potential zoonosis. Homologous analysis result of SARS-CoV-2 had a complete genome similarity of 93.7%, ORF1ab 96.5%, N protein 96.9%, and spike protein 92.86% with bat-coronavirus (Rhinolophus affinis Horsfield, 1823). This species, spread in South and Southeast Asia, to be a traditional medicine for respiratory. Wildlife animals as medicine should be limited, especially protected animals because trade with risky for zoonoses and potential of epidemics and pandemics. It can be overcome if ecosystem stability and provide proportional living space for other organisms, so that harmonious and sustainable interactions come true.
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China is one of the world's leading consumer markets for wildlife products, yet there is little understanding of how demand will change in the future. In this study, we investigate the consumptive habits and attitudes of the millennial 'Juilinghou' demographic - a subset of society in China with the potential to substantially influence future demand for wildlife products. We surveyed 350 Chinese university students across Harbin and Beijing, China, and found that the intended future consumption of wildlife products was relatively low in this population but with a strong orientation towards wildlife products with medicinal properties. Seventy percent of those respondents who had used and/or intended to use wildlife products were willing to try substitutes, but this was heavily dependent on their price (cheaper) and quality. The insights gained through this survey are intended to meaningfully inform future initiatives to introduce sustainable substitutability into wildlife markets to alert future wildlife product consumers to alternative choices. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10745-021-00279-0.
Article
The global trade in wildlife affects ~24% of terrestrial vertebrates, and demand for traditional medicinal materials, especially for traditional Chinese medicine, is a high profile driver. Much research has established a causal link between demand for medicinal materials for "TCM" and negative impacts on species conservation and on individual animals’ welfare. Key hopes for reducing these impacts are demand reduction and redirection strategies, targetted at consumers and professionals. Conservation research papers routinely treat "TCM" as a homogenous entity, and we argue that in so doing fail to identify distinct markets or communities within "TCM", and that recognising these distinctions would facilitate strategies for reduction and redirection. We present an initial taxonomy of "TCM" – using medicinal materials derived from wild animal species as a proof of concept - separating it into three principal components: (a) zhongyi is the broad, all-inclusive medical field. representing diverse medicinal materials used in so-called pre-modern and modern medical practice and described in a number of traditional and revived modern texts; (b) TCM represents a regulated suite of medical and pharmaceutical practises that began to be established from zhongyi in the 1950s and also belongs among zhongyi practices today. Medicinal materials within TCM which represent a curated subset of those within wider zhongyi, are described in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, and are subject to change (for example if trade in a species becomes strictly regulated); finally, (c) CMP, ‘Chinese medicine and pharmaco-therapy’ is a neo-liberal extension to mainly TCM but also to some aspects of zhongyi. It represents a highly commodified and commercialised form of TCM and zhongyi and includes also some newly designed health products not previously considered ‘traditional medical’, let alone ‘traditional Chinese medical’ and dispensed in drug shops, frequently in the absence of a medical practitioner. Practitioners, suppliers and potentially consumers in each category of what in conservation circles is labelled using the blanket term "TCM" are likely to regard themselves as distinct from the others. This appreciation raises the possibility of working with official TCM authorities, professional bodies, academics and practitioners to reduce, and perhaps eliminate, the use of species of conservation and animal welfare concern.
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Globally, illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade can drive biodiversity loss. Understanding which product attributes consumers consider when deciding between products of threatened species or alternatives, is key for conservation interventions. Labeled Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) are underutilized in wildlife trade literature but can aid this understanding. In labeled DCEs, the alternatives presented to respondents have specific names (e.g., paracetamol) as opposed to being generic bundles (e.g., option A). We used a labeled DCE to assess young adult preferences toward “cooling water” used to treat fever and heatiness (a traditional Chinese medicine state of illness) in Singapore. One popular cooling water contains saiga horn, made from Critically Endangered Saiga tatarica antelope. Data from 639 university‐enrolled respondents were analyzed using latent class models. Middle‐ to high‐income Chinese Singaporeans were the respondents most likely to choose saiga horn. Overall, however, respondents significantly preferred lower price products sold in nearby outlets—suggesting that for young adults in Singapore, saiga horn cooling water may be substitutable if its physical and financial availability is reduced. Using a technique originally developed in marketing, we assessed which product attributes (e.g., price, flavor) most influenced young adult Singaporeans decision to purchase medicinal drinks made either from threatened saiga antelope horn or more sustainable alternatives. We found that, overall, affordability and convenience were more important to consumers than preference for a particular drink, including saiga horn. These findings suggest saiga horn drinks may be substitutable for this audience.
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Several hundred species are hunted for wild meat in the tropics, supporting the diets, customs, and livelihoods of millions of people. However, unsustainable hunting is one of the most urgent threats to wildlife and ecosystems worldwide and has serious ramifications for people whose subsistence and income are tied to wild meat. Over the past 18 years, although research efforts have increased, scientific knowledge has largely not translated into action. One major barrier to progress has been insufficient monitoring and evaluation, meaning that the effectiveness of interventions cannot be ascertained. Emerging issues include the difficulty of designing regulatory frameworks that disentangle the different purposes of hunting, the large scale of urban consumption, and the implications of wild meat consumption for human health. To address these intractable challenges, we 19.2 Ingram et al.
Article
Several hundred species are hunted for wild meat in the tropics, supporting the diets, customs, and livelihoods of millions of people. However, unsustainable hunting is one of the most urgent threats to wildlife and ecosystems worldwide and has serious ramifications for people whose subsistence and income are tied to wild meat. Over the past 18 years, although research efforts have increased, scientific knowledge has largely not translated into action. One major barrier to progress has been insufficient monitoring and evaluation, meaning that the effectiveness of interventions cannot be ascertained. Emerging issues include the difficulty of designing regulatory frameworks that disentangle the different purposes of hunting, the large scale of urban consumption, and the implications of wild meat consumption for human health. To address these intractable challenges, we propose eight new recommendations for research and action for sustainable wild meat use, which would support the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 46 is October 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
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Abstract Understanding wildlife consumption is essential for the design and evaluation of effective conservation interventions to reduce illegal trade. This requires understanding both the consumers themselves and those who influence their behaviour. For example, in markets for wildlife‐based medicines, both consumers and medical practitioners have a role in which products are consumed. We used mixed methods to triangulate data on bear bile consumption from 3,646 members of the public, 80 pharmacy workers and 38 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors in four provincial capital cities across China. Bear bile can be sold legally in packaged TCM products made from farmed bile, or sold illegally, often as raw gallbladders from wild bears. We interviewed medical practitioners, and surveyed the public using both direct questions (DQ) and the Unmatched Count Technique (UCT), an indirect method used to improve reporting of sensitive behaviours. We applied a ‘combined’ UCT‐DQ analysis to produce a more robust consumption estimate. In all, 140 (3.8%) survey respondents directly reported recent (
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The wildlife trade is a major cause of species loss and a pathway for disease transmission. Socioeconomic drivers of the wildlife trade are influential at the local scale yet rarely accounted for in multinational agreements aimed at curtailing international trade in threatened species. In recent decades (1998-2018), approximately 421,000,000 threatened (i.e., CITES-listed) wild animals were traded between 226 nations/territories. The global trade network was more highly connected under conditions of greater international wealth inequality, when rich importers may have a larger economic advantage over poorer exporting nations/territories. Bilateral trade was driven primarily by socioeconomic factors at the supply end, with wealthier exporters likely to supply more animals to the global market. Our findings suggest that international policies for reducing the global wildlife trade should address inequalities between signatory states, possibly using incentive/compensation-driven programs modeled after other transnational environmental initiatives (e.g., REDD+).
Article
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It is now acknowledged that demand stemming from traditional medicine stimulates a continued market for illegal wildlife trade globally. Increasing demand for pangolin fuels widespread unsustainable extraction and an illicit international trade that is threatening pangolin populations worldwide. Vietnam is an important transit country in this trafficking network and a significant consumer country, particularly due to their longstanding tradition of consuming wildlife products as traditional medicine. We conducted 51 semi-structured, questionnaire-based interviews with traditional Vietnamese medicine practitioners in Hanoi, Vietnam to explore the factors influencing their prescription of pangolin. The results show that traditional Vietnamese medicine practitioners are important drivers of pangolin use and that prescription continues despite prohibitive legislation. The main influencing factors were money, illegality (as a deterrent) and supply. Wealthier patients were more likely to use pangolin as medicine and patients generally trusted a doctor's prescription. Awareness of regulations related to pangolin use in traditional medicine was low and pangolin use continued without fear of the law. Lactation, abscesses and circulation were the most prescribed uses for pangolin scales. All respondents believed that pangolin can be substituted, however, a belief remained that substitutes are inferior to pangolin. This study provides a unique perspective of pangolin use in one of the main pangolin consumption countries in the world. The results suggest that the law is not being implemented effectively and that increased enforcement efforts are necessary. Furthermore, these insights serve to inform future demand-reduction campaigns whereby the most common uses and substitutes for pangolin scales may be targeted.
Article
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Human behaviour is the key driver of all major threats to biodiversity. Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and overharvesting are, in general, consequences of the lifestyle of billions of humans. In order to move from documenting losses and identifying causes for decline to tackling the underlying drivers and implementing solutions, we need to recognize that conservation is not only about animals and plants but equally about people and their behaviour.
Article
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An attitudinal survey on wildlife consumption and conservation awareness was conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming and Nanning of China recently. Comparison with the results from a similar survey we did in 2004, after 8 years, the proportion of respondents who had consumed wildlife was dropped slightly from 31.3 % down to 29.6 %. It showed that the rates of wildlife consumed as food and as ingredients for traditional medicines in Guangzhou and Nanning ranked in the top. The consumptions in these two cities were mostly driven by utilitarian motivation, and mainly for food. Meanwhile, the rate of consumers taking wildlife as food was declining significantly in Beijing after 8 years. The results also showed that 52.7 % agreed that wildlife should not be consumed, which was significantly increased comparison with the survey result of 42.7 % in 2004. In addition, respondents agreed that wildlife could be used significantly decline from 42.8 to 34.8 %. It’s indicated that wildlife conservation awareness was raised in China in the past years. We also founded that consumers with higher income and higher educational background were having higher wildlife consumption rate. It suggested that to strengthen the law enforcement and to promote the public awareness were keys to reduce wildlife consumption in China.
Book
1. Introduction 2. Estimation 3. Hypothesis testing 4. Graphical exploration of data 5. Correlation and regression 6. Multiple regression and correlation 7. Design and power analysis 8. Comparing groups or treatments - analysis of variance 9. Multifactor analysis of variance 10. Randomized blocks and simple repeated measures: unreplicated two-factor designs 11. Split plot and repeated measures designs: partly nested anovas 12. Analysis of covariance 13. Generalized linear models and logistic regression 14. Analyzing frequencies 15. Introduction to multivariate analyses 16. Multivariate analysis of variance and discriminant analysis 17. Principal components and correspondence analysis 18. Multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis 19. Presentation of results.