Common questions about buying wildlife souvenirs on holiday.
If a species is truly endangered why would it be openly sold in a holiday resort?
There are many reasons why endangered animals are sold as souvenirs. Some species may not be protected by national legislation but would be illegal to transport over international borders.
In other cases, local law enforcement may be corrupt, overworked, under-resourced or have insufficient knowledge of, or interest in, wildlife conservation. Law enforcement can easily turn a blind eye to the sale of endangered species.
What can I do if I suspect I've seen endangered species products for sale?
IFAW urges you to report suspicious products to the local police, your tour operator, hotel management or the local tourism authority. Alert your fellow tourists of endangered animal products so they know what to avoid.
You may tell the vendor you prefer to buy products that aren’t made from wild animals. Remember, this trade is driven by demand -- if we don't buy, they won't die!
Don't local people depend upon the sale of wildlife souvenirs for their livelihood?
Just because you stop buying wildlife products doesn't mean you have to stop shopping. There are many sound alternatives available, such as purchasing handicrafts made by local artisans or collectives, with profits going directly to local communities rather than poachers or unscrupulous traders.
And remember, safeguarding a country's wildlife is the most sustainable way of securing the future for the people who depend on it for survival.