Adventure Travel Trade Association American Society for Travel Agents and Cruise Lines International Association announced last week they will be working to help travelers recognize and avoid purchasing the illegal wildlife products that are decimating global populations of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered species. These actions support the mission of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, a public-private partnership in which corporate and non-profit member organizations are working together with governmental entities to raise awareness about the dangers of wildlife trafficking and to stop consumer demand for endangered species products. The Travel Associations serve more than 25 million travelers annually.
The announcement comes as the Alliance releases its “Know Before You Go / Ask Before You Buy” digital toolkit, which provides travel and tourism industry leaders with resources they can use to engage travelers in the fight to stop wildlife trafficking. The toolkit includes educational pamphlets, public service announcements, and infographics that highlight the importance of ending demand for illegal wildlife products with beautiful and powerful imagery.
All three Associations have shared the toolkit with their member travel companies—a critical sector in the fight against wildlife trafficking—to educate travelers on how to avoid purchasing illegal wildlife products and do their part to stop the demand that fuels poaching and threatens endangered species.
Efforts in the travel industry come at a critical time, as wildlife around the world are under threat. From climate change to habitat loss, animals are suffering steep population declines. But in the last decade, illegal poaching is pushing endangered animals to the brink of extinction. An unprecedented global demand for exotic wildlife products triggered an industrial-scale killing spree of endangered species like elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered animals. Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. Money from the illegal wildlife trade is linked to organized crime, drug lords, gangs, and corrupt governments—all at the expense of wild animals, the environment, and our national security.
“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.