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International media coverage of the Bolivian jaguar trade

Citation

Li, Yuhan; Arias, Melissa; Hinsley, Amy; Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2021), International media coverage of the Bolivian jaguar trade, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mcvdnck1s

Abstract

The trade in jaguar body parts is viewed as an alarming threat to the jaguar, and there is the assumption that Chinese demand is driving the trade. However, there has been little analysis of the discourses around the trade both with respect to the Chinese public, internationally and in source countries. We analysed 298 media articles in Chinese, English and Spanish languages from 2010 to 2019, to understand the disparities in reporting of this jaguar trade and what impact they would have for jaguar conservation. Temporal analysis showed that this trade did not receive global media attention until 2018, despite having taken place for a couple of years. Only four (teeth, skin, head and claws) out of the 15 body parts reported to have been traded had evidence of trade based on seizures. Jaguars were viewed positively, while the experiences of local people who suffer losses from coexisting with jaguars were rarely captured. The claim that the trade was Chinese-driven was strongly and positively associated with whether seizure and arrest evidence was presented in an article, though articles held different views on if Chinese companies were involved. English and Spanish language articles stated that traditional Chinese medicine was the main use of the jaguar body parts and were more likely to mention that this trade was Chinese-driven; while journalistic investigations and narratives from within China were missing. This research highlights the evidence gap with respect to media coverage of the jaguar trade, and stresses the need to collaborate with stakeholders whose voices are less prominent in the articles analysed, such as Chinese communities and local people who live around jaguars.

Methods

Articles were collected following the systematic online search strategy for wildlife trade products (Roberts, Mun and Milner-Gulland, 2021). The time range was set as January 1st, 2010 to December 31st, 2019, which broadly coincides with the first report of illegal trade in jaguars that were linked to demand from people of Chinese descent in Bolivia (Nunez, Aliaga Rossel 2014), and exploratory searches before this period were not resulting in media reports.

We conducted our searches on the platforms Factiva, WiseSearch, and the search engine Google. Factiva is one of the most frequently used media databases (Macnamara, 2005), and it offers media reports in simplified Chinese-language, Spanish-language and English-language, while WiseSearch is the most comprehensive Chinese media database (Gao et al., 2016). Because the media databases only provide a narrow sample of media content published in major newspapers, we used Google Advanced Search to obtain a larger sample size for analysis. To avoid search biases, a new user profile was set up, Google’s Activity Tracking was turned off and cookies were deleted after each search. The first 100 results of each Google search were collected.

 

Funding

Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Rhodes Scholarship

Biodiversity, Conservation and Management dissertation grant

Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Biodiversity, Conservation and Management dissertation grant