This project will create positive change for wildlife around the world!
Every year hundreds of thousands of animals are captured from the wild to serve as pets in domestic homes; reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates. Industry figures for 2012 specify that 500,000 wild animals were imported into the UK alone that year with a staggering 50,000 of them having been caught in the wild. A shocking 75% of these ill-fated creatures die during their first year as a "pet".
Evidence suggests that our planet is currently entering the 6th global-scale mass extinction known since life began on Earth. However, while decades of research have fundamentally focused on the effects that climate change and habitat destruction have exerted on the conservation of biodiversity the scientific estimation of the impacts of global-scale pet-trade activities on species declines remains almost entirely ignored.
Working alongside my supervisor, Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso at the University of Lincoln, we will examine the direct impact of the trade in wild animals as pets upon global natural populations.
We intend to answer three fundamental questions:
(1) Are species categorised as threatened more extensively exploited as pets?
This question will establish whether the conservation status of threatened species (e.g., extinct, threatened, vulnerable) can be predicted by the extent to which those species are heavily exploited as pets. We predict that indiscriminate pet-trade activity is responsible for the threatened conservation status of many species in the wild. The results of this investigation will therefore allow species specific conservation efforts to be implemented for those animals found to be at the highest risk or endangerment of extinction.
(2) Are there specific areas of the world more heavily exploited by the pet-trade industry?
This question aims to identify whether some regions of the planet (e.g. tropics) concentrate higher numbers of coexisting species that are exploited as pets, in order to spatially focus protection policy.
(3) What factors are influencing the diversity of species targeted by the exotic pet trade?
It is known from current research that the exotic pet trade is heavily linked to both legal and illegal trade activities relating to animal parts such as skins and traditional medicine ingredients. We aim to establish at what point the illicit and authorised trade in exotic species as pets meet and the factors that are driving this relationship. Our prediction is that cultural and fashion trends are the main drivers of this relationship.
The results of the study will influence wildlife protection legislation in a positive way for years to come. We will also identify specific areas of the world that are more heavily exploited than others as well as those species most threatened so that wildlife protection policy can be targeted to those regions and animals.
All the money raised through this appeal will go towards:
- Payment of tuition fees at £1,800 per annum for six years
- Parts for a PC upgrade to handle the vast amounts of data processing required
- Essential textbooks, journals and stationery
- Transport costs between home and the University campus (170 mile round trip)
- Travel expenses to academic conferences and seminars within the UK and abroad
Please donate today and help make the world a better place for wildlife world-wide!
- Owner-Operator of Grace's Rest: Midlands Exotic Animal Advice, Education & Rescue Service
- In it's fourth year of operation
- Rescued over 400 animals!
- Patron Bill Oddie OBE
- Strictly non-profit with strong animal welfare campaign goals
- "No kill" policy
- Almost 20 years experience in the care and management of exotic species
- Guest lecturer and writer on exotic pet related topics; conservation, ecology, animal welfare etc.
- Former ecologist and zookeeper
- Worked with UK protected species under Natural England license
- Specialist in British herpetofauna
- BSc.(Hons.) Conservation Biology with Animal Behaviour