IFAW, the EWT and Lanseria International Airport Join Forces to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade
A hard-hitting campaign to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife has been launched at one of South Africa’s busiest airports.
Starting this week passengers arriving and departing from Lanseria International Airport, will be asked to Think Twice about Wildlife Souvenirs by an advertising campaign launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
The initiative has been supported by Lanseria International Airport which has provided branding exposure throughout the airport precinct for the IFAW and EWT Think Twice campaign.
“Every year millions of wild animals and rare flora are killed or poached to become trinkets or souvenirs,” says Jason Bell, Director IFAW Southern Africa.
“And it is a particular problem in Africa where up to 50,000 elephants a year are killed for their ivory; and in South Africa where the poaching of rhino for their horns could literally wipe out the entire species within a few years.
“The Think Twice campaign asks tourists and business travellers not to buy souvenirs made from animal parts, many of which are illegal and come from endangered species. The mantra to remember when buying souvenirs should be ‘If we don’t buy, they don’t die’,” said Bell.
Adam Pires, Manager of the EWT’s Skills Development Unit, stated: “Raising awareness is a crucial step in the fight against illegal wildlife trade as we are losing our precious biodiversity at an alarming rate. The advent of new technologies has meant that conservation organisations have had to escalate their activities around awareness building and so the Think Twice campaign is a crucial part of the EWT’s strategy to bring an end to this insidious trade. We hope that consumers wake up to the fact that the power to save our wildlife heritage does in fact lie in their hands and that this campaign spurs them into making much wiser purchasing decisions in future.”
“Lanseria International Airport is committed to helping end illegal trade in endangered species,” said Airport Manager Gavin Sayce.
“Think Twice is one of the most high-profile conservation campaigns ever to flight at an international airport. No passenger travelling through Lanseria International Airport can say they are unaware of the need to protect wildlife, fauna and flora in South Africa and worldwide.
“Lanseria has also implemented a reward programme to encourage staff to report on illegal activities regarding wildlife,” said Sayce.
The Think Twice about Wildlife Souvenirs campaign features dead wild animals and flora circulating on a luggage carousel, making the connection between the species and the souvenirs and collectables that consumers may buy.
The illegal trade in endangered species is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, on a par with drug and arms smuggling, and human trafficking. While ivory and rhinoceros are high-profile victims of trade, at least 5 000 species of wildlife and 25 000 species of plant are listed as endangered by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and their trade regulated.
The trade in wildlife specimens is driven by various socio-economic and cultural factors, some of these include the pet trade, collectables or souvenirs, food resources, health care, religion and the fashion or beauty industry to name but a few. In some countries wildlife products made from protected species are freely sold, but buyers must have the correct and legal paperwork in order to purchase and transport these goods without risking fines or imprisonment. Even non CITES-regulated wildlife and plants are under increasing pressure as a result of illegal trade due to the lack of awareness amongst consumers. This presents an ongoing challenge to protect our biodiversity.
The Think Twice about Wildlife Souvenirs campaign will run at Lanseria International Airport throughout 2013.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa to the benefit of all people. Our Vision is a healthy planet and an equitable world that values and sustains diversity of all life. The EWT was established in 1973 and is registered as a Non-Profit Organisation. The EWT fills the key niche of on the ground conservation action. We identify the key factors threatening biodiversity and develop innovative methodologies and best practice guidelines to reduce these and promote harmonious co-existence and sustainable living for both people and wildlife. We achieve our goals through specialist programmes, and our skilled field staff are deployed regionally and throughout southern Africa. The EWT is a proud member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Global Compact. Visit www.ewt.org.za for further information.