I’ve always been captivated by animals and the natural world. I decided to become a conservationist after studying Environmental Humanities at Whitman College (USA) and continued to pursue this ambition while I completed my MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College a few years later.
I first became interested in wildlife trade when I worked for TRAFFIC, an NGO that monitors wildlife trade, in Vietnam. In this position, I came to learn about the detrimental impact overexploitation of wildlife can have on biodiversity. Rather than focusing on the harvesting and hunting of plants and animals, I was most intrigued by the consumer demand driving this exploitation. Learning how we can better understand the motivations that lead to consumption of illegally traded wildlife, and how we can influence this behaviour, was my focal area while I worked for WWF-Vietnam, and is at the epicentre of my research in my PhD at the University of Oxford.
My current research explores whether celebrities can be effective influencers of consumption of illegal wildlife products. I hope my findings can guide other researchers and practitioners in their efforts to address and change unsustainable behaviours more broadly.
I recently participated in a roundtable discussion for TRT World on the topic of celebrities in the environmental field. You can watch the video here.
Can celebrities save the pangolin?
'Influencers' are here like never before...log on to social media, and there will be someone there to tell you what to cook or what to wear...But what about when it comes to wildlife conservation? For instance, how much impact can a celebrity have when it comes to saving an endangered species? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions Podcast, we're asking zoologist Alegria Olmedo "...