Think Twice: "smuggling ivory leads to prosecution" campaign in Dubai Airport
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – MENA office launched a campaign to battle the illegal trade in ivory at Dubai International Airport.
Advertisements warning passengers that ivory smuggling leads to prosecution are being shown on video screens. Ivory trade causes the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants every year.
The campaign is being run jointly by the airport security department of Dubai Police and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "Dubai Police are committed to fighting any ivory-trade activity, which runs counter to the principles of endangered species conservation," said Brig Ahmad Mohammad bin Thani, director of the department.
Ivory is smuggled through the UAE in raw form and as carved trinkets. Last November Dubai Customs seized a haul worth Dh15 million that was being brought into the country at Jebel Ali Port. The 215 tusks came from 108 African elephants and were hidden in 40 boxes containing beans.
In May last year, 350 tusks weighing a total of 1.5 tons were seized at Colombo in Sri Lanka. The consignment had arrived from Kenya and was en route to Dubai.
IFAW estimates up to 50,000 elephants are slaughtered each year by poachers to meet the soaring demand for ivory. Last year 600 were killed in Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida national park in just six weeks.
"Some populations in west and central Africa are facing extinction because of highly organized, large-scale poaching.”, said Elsayed Ahmed, IFAW- MENA regional director.
A survey was done at Terminal 3, transit area at Dubai International Airport during the campaign, May 8th-27th 2013. Dubai Airport is the 2nd busiest airport worldwide in terms of international passengers in 2012.
Some highlights from the survey:
Did you ever buy a souvenir made of wildlife?
· 90.64% No
Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
>> Purchasing souvenirs made of wildlife parts threatens the survival of wild animals.
· 81.38% strongly agree/agree.
>> There are good alternative souvenirs that I could buy instead of ones made from wildlife.
· 93.29% strongly agree/agree.
>> Trade in all elephant ivory products should be banned.
· 93.52% strongly agree/agree.
Advertisements reached all transit and arrival passengers. The number of passengers who have seen the message is approximately 728,000.
All positive indicators these ads are worthwhile and serving their purpose.