Airline companies and airports around the world are joining forces to combat the illegal wildlife trade by launching a new public awareness campaign that takes aim at would-be traffickers.
In the video message, aviation companies from South America, Asia, Africa and Europe warn that any product from the illegal wildlife trade “doesn’t fly with us.”
The effort is part of the Step Up to Stop Wildlife Trafficking campaign — a large, coordinated international effort aimed at disrupting wildlife smuggling supply chains that’s run by the USAID-funded Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership and charity United for Wildlife.
At least 6,000 species are impacted each year by the illegal wildlife trade — including rhinos and elephants — according to data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Traffickers have become increasingly savvy at using international transportation routes in recent years, creating a supply chain to move illegally poached animals and animal products to the black markets where they’re sold.
Airports, airlines, and transport and logistics companies that join the campaign commit to improving training and systems upgrades to better detect smugglers and smuggling operations and also identify and flag flight paths most frequently used by traffickers.
ROUTES is working with aviation industry leaders, law enforcement, development groups, and conservation organizations to generate new data on wildlife trafficking and integrate wildlife trafficking-related measures into existing aviation policies and protocols.
“Traffickers rely on public and commercial transport chains to smuggle illegal wildlife products,” said Michelle Owen, a project leader for ROUTES. “Transport personnel can play a key role in supporting law enforcement by helping to identify and report wildlife trafficking.”
Lady Freethinker applauds this global effort to end wildlife trafficking and smuggling.