WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE APPEALS TO AIRLINES TO RAISE VIGILENCE LEVELS
(Posted 17th June 2018)
Afsoon Namini from the WWF office in Washington attended the recently ended Aviation Development Summit in Cape Town.
There she was one of the speakers, able to explain to the assembled airlines, airports and aviation service providers top executives, besides the media present, that wildlife trafficking continues and airlines play a crucial role to prevent smuggling of prohibited items on their flights.
Said Afsoon: ‘Wildlife trafficking is a global challenge. The very existence of wildlife is being threatened. It is putting pressure on vulnerable species. The safety and health of passengers and staff as well as the public are also being compromised‘ before adding: ‘This trafficking doesn’t exist in a vacuum, putting companies and countries at risk. If wildlife is being trafficked, chances are that other illegal goods are being trafficked too. About 55 elephants are killed every day for their ivory. A rhino is killed every eight hours for its horn. About 317 000 live birds are trafficked annually. A ranger is killed in the line of duty, on average, every three days‘.
She caught the full attention of the aviation experts in the room when she then appealed for better training and vigilance among airlines and airport staff: ‘We need to create an industry shift where airline staff know how to detect and report wildlife crime. Companies need to create standard reporting processes so that staff know who to alert if they suspect something. Illegal wildlife trafficking is a reputational risk to business. The possibility of negative press and reports can hurt your brand. Negative publicity can also lead to reduced wildlife populations affecting tourism revenue‘.
Afsoon expressed her gratitude to AviaDev to give WWF a platform to lobby for stricter measures by airlines and airports to capture traffickers and have them brought to justice, no matter how great or small the amount of smuggled items is.