In order to better understand the role of IWT in driving illegal hunting of big cats, the CCI initiated a nation-wide under-cover survey of wildlife markets (166 markets surveyed in Benin and Niger, including 54 markets surveyed in Benin in 2017 and 112 markets surveyed in Benin and Niger in 2019). 13 instances of real cheetah and leopard skins for sale were found, indicating the existence of an ongoing trade in spotted cat products, including cheetah. There was also a wide proliferation of fake cheetah skins and leopard skulls in the markets which demonstrated a high demand for spotted cat products from local buyers, and indicates the likelihood of a high demand for real products.
In 2021, the CCI team supervised the analysis of data issued from wildlife market surveys realised in Benin and Niger in 2017 and 2019 (conducted by Chloe Gerstenhaber – MRes Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at UCL, UK) in order to publish results of this first of a kind investigation in the region and better inform stakeholders involved in combatting IWT. A third survey is planned to be organised in Niger and Benin in 2022.
Partners: ZSL WAP Program, IUCN Cat SG/KORA, UK DEFRA, DFC/AP