2021

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Combating the illegal trade of wildlife

October, 2021. 

Transportation is the backbone of global trade, and traffickers of wild animals and wildlife products rely heavily on the efficiency of air travel and cargo carriers to smuggle illicit goods. Companies from the transportation and logistics sector can play a critical role in identifying and strengthening key risk points in the supply chains, thereby helping to prevent wildlife trafficking.

Although the duty for capturing and prosecuting these criminals rests with national enforcement authorities, aviation staff can provide an important source of additional intelligence. Associations like International Air Transport Association (IATA)

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 Airports Council International (ACI)

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and AASA, together with organizations like United for Wildlife (UfW), are working with many other aviation stakeholders to support the work of enforcement agencies in combating the illegal trade in wildlife. ​​​​The USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership, which was operational in 2015-2021 and included ACI and IATA, has also developed a suite of resources to support wildlife trafficking prevention efforts in the air transport sector. 

The resources developed under ROUTES have been designed to enable companies to respond safely and effectively to instances of wildlife trafficking. Those resources can be accessed through the following links:

  • Up-to-date wildlife trafficking data is available on the ROUTES Dashboard, including common trafficking routes and smuggling methods. After December 2021 this data will be included on the TRAFFIC Wildlife Trade Portal. The ROUTES Dashboard will remain but will not be updated. 
  • Training, awareness, and guidance materials are available on the ROUTES website; and starting in 2022, these resources will be hosted on the USAID Biodiversity Links website
    • General awareness training presentations - The following training resources provide an overview of wildlife trafficking for all staff. They include information on potential risks and impacts from wildlife trafficking, where and how it might occur, red flags to help staff identify trafficking and how to safely handle and report your suspicions. Each comes with detailed notes and talking points to guide training staff in delivering these materials. 
    • Role-specific training - Targeted training resources for staff who are more likely to encounter wildlife trafficking due to the nature or location of their work: cabin crew; cargo acceptance; cargo and baggage screener; check-in staff; ground handler; passenger screener. Three formats are available for each role with limited translations available: 
      • E-learning course: Digital course focusing on how staff can help identify wildlife trafficking and what to do if wildlife is discovered. Available in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish (Duration: ~30 minutes) 
      • Presentation: a PowerPoint presentation focusing on how staff can help identify wildlife trafficking and what to do if wildlife is discovered. Complete with detailed notes and talking points to guide training staff in delivering these materials. Available in English, Chinese, Spanish and French (Duration: ~1 hour)
      • Toolbox talks: short 2-page briefs of the subject to support discussion in briefing meetings or other informal group discussions. Available in English, Chinese, Spanish and French (Duration: a few minutes)
    • Airport specific resources such as training, handbook, and videos can be found on the Airports Council International (ACI) website. 
    • Airline specific resources such as training and videos can be found on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.