SAA trains staff to detect smuggled wildlife

Posted on 5 March 2020

In a bid to combat wildlife trafficking, South African Airways (SAA) has committed to taking action to protect wildlife and its natural heritage. The national carrier has trained its employees to detect smuggled animals. SAA has also signed the Illegal Wildlife Trade Module of the IATA Environment Assessment Programme.

As a new member of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES), the national carrier said it would work hard to reduce the trafficking. Of trafficked animals seized,  42% of wildlife animals were found in checked-in luggage, 4% hidden in passenger clothing, 23% in air flight, 4% in mail and 27% recorded as unknown.

USAID ROUTES said Africa is a significant source of smuggled live animals and wildlife products.

In 2019 more than 103 wild animals were seized in three countries across the African continent. Most commonly, air traffic of wildlife or wildlife products in the African skies involves:

– Ivory moved from East Africa, through the Middle East, into Asia;

– Rhino horn moved from Southern Africa, through East Africa and the Middle East, into Asia;

– Pangolin scales moved from West Africa, through Europe, into Asia;

– Tortoises moved from Madagascar, through East Africa, into Asia;

– Abalone moved from Southern Africa straight to Asia and

– Nile crocodiles moved from the Horn of Africa into the Middle East.

In a statement, SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said: ‘SAA has joined the fight against illegal wildlife trade by adopting the Illegal Wildlife Trade Module of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) Programme.

‘IEnvA is an equivalent of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), but in terms of the environment rather than safety. SAA is audited, much like IOSA, and certified as IEnvA compliant. The airline was recently successfully audited through the Illegal Wildlife Trade module of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) Programme to ensure that the correct systems and procedures are in place.

‘In its effort to fight against illegal wildlife trade, SAA recently conducted an awareness campaign among its employees to demonstrate how a trained dog can reinforce detection efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in the air transport industry.’


Image: Unsplash 

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