Perspectives on conservation impacts of the global primate trade

Gal Badihi, Daniel R. K. Nielsen, Paul A. Garber, Mike Gill, Lisa Jones-Engel, Angela M. Maldonado, Kerry M. Dore, Jennifer D. Cramer, Susan Lappan, Francine Dolins, Emerson Y. Sy, Agustin Fuentes, Vincent Nijman, Malene F. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global trade in nonhuman primates represents a substantial threat to ecosystem health, human health, and primate conservation worldwide. Most of the primate trade involves trade for pet-keeping, consumption, or biomedical experimentation. We present an overview of international primate trade through five case studies; each describes a different facet of this trade. We draw on published scientific literature, media outlets, and open access datasets, including the CITES Trade Database to build these case studies. Case study 1 describes the role of introduced island populations of Macaca and Chlorocebus in trade for biomedical experimentation; case study 2 covers the global health threats posed by the primate trade, including zoonotic disease transmission once animals enter the trade pipeline; case study 3 addresses the ways that changing patterns of primate trade, from local markets to online, have increased the demand for primates as pets; case study 4 recognizes the role that local environmental activism can play in mitigating trade; and case study 5 shows variation between global regions in their contribution to the primate trade. We recommend greater oversight of primate trade, especially domestic trade within primate range countries, and real-time reporting to CITES to accurately track primate trade. Effective conservation-focused regulations that can minimise the negative effects of primate trade must be tailored to specific regions and species and require transparency, careful regulation, field research, and an understanding of the magnitude of this trade.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Early online date10 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2024


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