RESEARCH PAPER
The next exotic pet to go viral - Is social media causing an increase in the demand of owning bushbabies as pets?
 
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1
Oxford Brookes University
2
Monitor Conservation Research Society
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Magdalena S Svensson   

Oxford Brookes University
Online publication date: 2022-01-22
Publication date: 2022-01-22
 
 
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ABSTRACT
Social media is known to influence consumers’ attitudes and to increase demand for wild animals as pets, when depicted online. We investigate the online presence of the nocturnal primates galagos, on TikTok and Instagram, and its influence on followers’ attitudes and desire to keep galagos as pets. We monitored activity June - December 2020 and conducted sentiment analysis on 21,976 comments. We assessed trends in Google searches and estimated the international trade of live galagos using CITES reports. Post views increased up to 472% within the study period. Posts were mostly from Japan, Thailand, and Russia, with comments in 43 different languages. Of the comments, 95% were positive, e.g., ‘cute’ and ‘I want one’. Google searches of the term ‘galago pet’ increased over time, as did the number of live galagos exported. Southeast Asia is having a boom in exotic pet trade. Viral videos of other nocturnal primates previously led to increased demand for pets, and we hope our findings provide data to guide policy and conservation interventions.
eISSN:1825-5272
ISSN:0394-1914