IFAW Encourages Tourists and Shoppers in Dubai to "Think Twice" Before Buying Wildlife Souvenirs

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Dubai, UAE
The campaign aims to protect endangered wildlife species from the growing illegal commercial wildlife trade around the world.  IFAW’s approach to combating illegal wildlife trade in the Middle East and North Africa region is to work in co-operation with local governments and agencies. “Think Twice Dubai” launched in co-operation with Dubai Municipality and the Global Village.  In the early days of the campaign, authorities have already confiscated illegal ivory and a leopard skin as a result of heightened awareness of illegal wildlife trade at the Global Village pavilions.
 
IFAW Executive Vice President Azzedine Downes, in Dubai for the launch of the campaign said, “The Dubai Municipality and management officials from the Global Village have been very supportive of ‘Think Twice Dubai’ as they recognize that there is a trade in certain wildlife products that are banned.  The Dubai authorities are committed to a very high standard and IFAW hopes that this campaign will help educate the public to their responsibilities.”
 
Dr. Hedia Baccar, Senior Advisor for the Middle East, highlighted the main items in trade in the Middle East region, noting, “We are asking tourists to be aware of restrictions on the purchase of the following items:
 
·        Ivory (Elephants)
·        Shahtoosh shawls (Tibetan antelope)
·        Caviar (Sturgeon fish)
·        Reptile skin products (snakes and crocodiles)
·        Fur of wild cats (leopards and tigers)
·        Hard coral
·        Marine turtle shells
 
 
These products are commonly seized in UAE and Middle East by CITES Enforcement Authorities, indicating that there is a high commercial trade pressure on these wild animals.”
 
The Global Village attracts more than four million visitors annually, who last year spent nearly 2 billion dollars.  “Think Twice Dubai” is designed to reach these shoppers so that when choosing souvenirs, they don’t bring home more than they bargained for.  To learn more, shoppers are encouraged to visit the IFAW - Dubai Municipality tent near the Indian Pavilion at Global Village, or to log on to http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=177691.
 

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Jason Bell, Vice President for International Operations
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Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
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