Type of wildlife species purchased (by the respondent or someone known to them) in an open wildlife market in the past 12 months—Total 5 markets (443 respondents)
To gauge public opinion in places where such markets operate, WWF commissioned the GlobeScan market research firm to conduct a first of its kind survey among the general public in Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Between March 3 and 11, 2020, as COVID-19 was spreading globally, GlobeScan interviewed 5,000 respondents, surveying their sentiments on the coronavirus outbreak in their respective markets and their opinions on illegal and unregulated markets selling wildlife.
The results were overwhelming: 93% of respondents in the four regions with active wildlife markets—all locations surveyed except Japan (where there is less trade of wildlife for human consumption)—would support efforts by their governments and health ministries to close all illegal and unregulated markets selling wild animals. Across all five markets, 79% felt that closing such illegal and unregulated markets, where wild animals are sold, would be effective at preventing similar pandemics from occurring in the future. And 84% said they were not likely to buy wildlife products from open wildlife markets in the future.
Ending the sale and consumption of high-risk and unsustainable wildlife products is critical to eliminating the root cause of the next pandemic. It will take a global concerted effort to mitigate these risks. Closing high-risk wildlife markets and stopping trade in high-risk species will help conserve biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of wild resources.
"Urgent action is paramount to curtail future pandemics," said Jan Vertefeuille, senior advisor, advocacy, WWF. "We know what needs to be done to help prevent future zoonotic pandemics, and we call on decision-makers everywhere to immediately and urgently undertake these steps to halt biodiversity loss and reduce the chances of another zoonotic pandemic."
Read the full report and/or summary: Opinion Survey on COVID-19 and Wildlife Trade in Five Asian Markets