Iata has leant its weight behind efforts instigated by the Duke of Cambridge (pictured) to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking
The airline trade body was one of a number of transport groups committing themselves to saving endangered species such as rhino and elephant.
Iata signed a declaration aimed at reducing the illegal trafficking of wildlife and underlining the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability.
The interconnected air transport network is being exploited by criminal gangs to smuggle animals or their products from the killing field to the market place.
The aviation industry can help stop this trade by providing additional intelligence to enforcement authorities about suspicious shipments, according to Iata.
The United for Wildlife initiative created by the duke invited representatives of the transport industry to Buckingham Palace to pledge their support.
Iata, Airports Council International, the African Airlines Association and a number of individual airlines signed commitments aimed at raising awareness of the trafficking issue among passengers, and training staff to recognise and report suspicious packages and behavior.
The initial focus of action will be on the trafficking of high-risk protected animals, specifically certain big cats, pangolins, and ivory products, on high-risk routes, particularly originating from or transiting through East Africa.
Iata director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler, said: “I can think of few other causes that galvanize more interest and support across the global transport and logistics sectors than the challenge of wildlife trafficking.
“Today marks a step forward for environmental protection – a commitment that we take very seriously.
“In the 1990’s the industry came together to address noise. More recently we joined forces to manage our impact on climate change – committing as an industry to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and to cut net emissions to half the 2005 levels by 2050.
“We now extend that commitment to playing an active role in reducing illegal trafficking of wildlife. We will collaborate in support of government enforcement authorities to put an end to this evil trade.”
Co-operation with enforcement authorities and international conservation organisations such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has already begun.
Two awareness-raising workshops for airline and airport staff have been held at international airports in Nairobi and Bangkok.
New guidance material for airlines has been published, and an Iata environmental committee wildlife taskforce has been established to monitor progress and five advice on the next steps.
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