Resource June 18, 2018

Meet The Journalist: Sean Gallagher


Wei Zheng, aged 31, and his Spiny Tailed Lizard (Uromastyx princeps), in a park in central Beijing. Endemic to the horn of Africa, this species of lizard is normally found in the rocky ecosystems of Somalia. Many species of this type of lizard are now vulnerable or threatened in the region. Image by Sean Gallagher. China, 2017.

It is estimated that up to one million people own exotic pets in China. Trade in these animals is...

Image by Sean Gallagher. China, 2017.
Image by Sean Gallagher. China, 2017.

Sean Gallagher reports from Beijing on the growing trend of exotic pet ownership in China. He discovers a flourishing trade in which many types of animals, often threatened species, are traded freely both online and in the country's markets. With a short film featured online with National Geographic and a photo-series published in The Guardian, this project focuses on the characters and pathways involved in the buying and selling of exotic animals and the industry's links to the global trade in exotic animals.

The trade of these animals has been directly linked to the loss of species in some of the world's most threatened ecosystems, as well as contributing to a rapid rise in invasive species. By investigating how animals are traded through online portals and in the markets of China's major cities, Gallagher sheds light on the country's growing impact on this global trade. This story is part of Gallagher's long-term work, which spans over a decade, documenting critical environmental issues in Asia.


yellow halftone illustration of an elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change