A Buddhist Wildlife Trade Demand Reduction Initiative In Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is a major hub for national and international wildlife trade – both legal and illegal. The region also plays a key role as an end-market as well as onward trafficking in the illegal trafficking of high-value endangered species products, including elephant ivory and rhino horn. SE Asian markets therefore play a key role in the accelerating destruction of both local, regional, and global biodiversity and have been identified as a hotspot for the development of new zoonotic disease. Our initiative comprises targeted public awareness and demand reduction campaigns in Vietnam, Bhutan and Mongolia that draw on the fundamental Buddhist principles of compassion towards all life, universal responsibility, and interdependence. The project enjoys the support of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), the world’s largest Buddhist umbrella body, and the Buddhist leaders of the three project countries. By promoting conscious compassionate and sustainable lifestyle choices, based on the Buddha’s teaching, the initiative aims to make a tangible contribution towards mitigating zoonotic disease spread and spill over risks, sustainability, biodiversity conservation, livelihood protection and peace. In addition, we hope to generate a model for effective Buddhist demand reduction initiatives that may be transferable to other faiths.