International media coverage of the Bolivian jaguar trade.

Published online
08 Aug 2022
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Li YuHan & Arias, M. & Hinsley, A. & Milner-Gulland, E. J.
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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.

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