This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
This week, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is calling for airlines and airports to contribute more actively to ending wildlife trafficking. The air travel industry, the organization says, has the potential to stop profitable and illegal wildlife trafficking in some scenarios and even lead to prevention.
At the AviaDev conference on Wednesday, Director of the WWF Private Sector Engagement Team, Afsoon Namini, talked through the scope of wildlife trafficking, the impacts beyond the unfortunate endangerment of animals and, most importantly, she addressed what exactly the travel industry can do to lessen wildlife trafficking beyond the precautions that certain companies are taking.
Mainly, Namini pushed for airlines and airports to teach their employees to recognize wildlife trafficking and to know what to do when it’s detected. Already, Delta, Kenya Airways and Etihad have worked with USAID to combat the problem by means of training and responding. However, other airlines have yet to prioritize the preventative measures in their protocol.
Another way that airlines and airports can be proactive on the issue is by infiltrating a whistleblower policy. “Companies need to create standard reporting processes so that staff know who to alert if they suspect something,” said Namini.
Some airlines have been able to make external policies that will help the cause beyond the suggestions of Namini. In 2015, just a few weeks after the death of Cecil the Lion, Delta decided to “ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies.” A few short weeks after, United and American did the same.
The issue of wildlife trafficking has threatened animals to an almost inconceivable extent. In her presentation at the conference, Namini laid out some daunting statistics: “About 55 elephants are killed every day for their ivory. A rhino is killed every eight hours for its horn. About 317,000 live birds are trafficked annually. A ranger is killed in the line of duty, on average, every three days.”
On top of the tangible research that’s been conducted about the safety of animals, there are other reasons that the travel industry needs to further focus on the issue. Transport of the products pose a threat to the safety and health of those in the vicinity. Plus, wildlife trafficking is often linked to other types of trafficking, as pointed out by Namini. It’s possible to catch other types of illegal trade in the process of finding wildlife trafficking.
Featured image by SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards