Travel Industry Takes a Huge Step to Stop Wildlife Trafficking

Three major tourism trade groups have just announced they’ll be taking action to help stop travelers from unknowingly contributing to wildlife trafficking.

The global demand for wildlife products has led to an unprecedented level of poaching and slaughter that’s threatening the future survival of many species. While the focus is often on charismatic species like elephants and rhinos, the illegal wildlife trade is also harming many other animals and plants.

Unfortunately, travelers around the world are contributing to the demand for wildlife products by buying a variety of items on trips that range from accessories and clothing to medicine, souvenirs, live pets and meals.

The good news is that evidence continues to point to the fact that they’re worth far more alive than dead, which gives the tourism industry a huge incentive to want to help protect them. Not only does protecting wildlife help keep the ecosystem healthy, it helps communities that are largely dependent on wildlife tourism for revenue.

This week, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), American Society for Travel Agents (ASTA), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced they’ll be partnering with public and private organizations to help educate travelers about the wildlife trade to help end the demand for wildlife products.

According to a joint statement, the associations serve more than 25 million travelers every year, which gives them a huge reach.

“It is exciting to see the U.S. travel industry step up and use their deep relationships with the traveling public to raise awareness about the global wildlife trafficking crisis and give unsuspecting travelers the tools to make good buying decisions,” said David J. Hayes, Chair of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. “The Alliance applauds ATTA, ASTA, and CLIA for its socially responsible leadership, in concert with the non-profit and government sectors, in working to close down the illegal wildlife markets that are fueling the senseless killing of endangered species around the globe.”

The announcement comes just as the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance released a digital toolkit with educational material for member travel companies to share with travelers to help ensure they’re making informed buying decisions that won’t hurt wildlife.  It’s hoped this effort will end the demand for products that are pushing species to the brink, which will also cut off funds from those whose exploits put both us and wildlife at risk.

“Governments and organizations around the globe are collaborating in unprecedented ways to combat wildlife trafficking. Powerful as these efforts are, the real power – and the hope for elephants, rhinos, tigers and other treasured wildlife on the brink – lies in the hands of consumers,” said Bryan Arroyo, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs Program. “Educating travelers, so they don’t unwittingly contribute to the poaching and wildlife trafficking epidemic, is vital to ending this grave threat to our planet’s most precious legacy.”

For more info and resources, visit the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

112 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Melania P
Melania Padilla5 months ago

Education and more education; tourists are the only ones at fault: no demand no offer!

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Simon L
Simon L5 months ago

Thank you

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H5 months ago

"lies in the hands of consumers,” said Bryan Arroyo, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs Program." I find this insulting when it comes from the most anti-wildlife organization. The program, overall, has been a long time coming. Whale watching is a multi-million dollar industry over whaling so it would follow course with all wildlife.

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Leong S
Leong S5 months ago

noted

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heather g
heather g5 months ago

Education and more education...... Encourage tourism money into being used for helpful issues....

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Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook5 months ago

ty

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Sophie M
Sophie M5 months ago

Very good. Thanks for sharing.

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william Miller
william Miller5 months ago

Thanks

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