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Published on : Saturday, June 4, 2016
Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has signed up to the Buckingham Palace Declaration, a milestone agreement committed to shutting down the transport routes used by illegal wildlife traffickers as well as protecting iconic wildlife species.
The Declaration of the United for Wildlife International Taskforce on the Transportation of Illegal Wildlife Products was signed by Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, at the IATA Annual General Meeting currently being held in Dublin.
The agreement was also signed by Alitalia, airberlin, Air Serbia and Virgin Australia, who have followed the lead of Etihad Airways, which became a signatory in March this year.
United for Wildlife is an alliance of seven conservation organizations led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The initiative aims to address current conservation issues with an initial focus on supporting efforts to prevent the growing trade in illegal wildlife and products around the world.
The Transport Taskforce, launched at the World Bank in December 2014, has identified specific actions that the transport industry can take in supporting what HRH the Duke of Cambridge refers to as ‘the race against extinction’.
Roy Kinnear said: “We believe that airlines have an important role to play in stopping the horrid black market trade of animal products and are incredibly proud to sign the Buckingham Palace Declaration.
“The natural heritage, biodiversity and rich marine life of Seychelles is what makes our island home special and that is why conservation efforts are so close to the heart of Air Seychelles.
“Added to that, Seychelles is very close to the African continent and many of our guests combine a holiday to the islands with a visit to the game parks of South Africa, which are wildlife trade hotspots.
“This declaration will help to ensure that we preserve the biodiversity of such places so that many more of our visitors can continue to marvel at the wonders of the natural world in Seychelles, Africa and beyond.”
Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Vallée de Mai, a rare forest of endemic coco-der-mer palm trees, and the Aldabra atoll, which is home to the largest population of land tortoises on Earth, with more than 100,000 tortoises. Both sites have long-running conservation programs.
In addition, over 50 percent of the land territory in Seychelles is protected under law as nature reserves and there are strong laws in place to deter wildlife trafficking such as the poaching of marine turtles.
Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan said: “Having six of the Etihad equity partners as signatories ensures a more extensive and impactful result over 348 destinations. Led by our Head of Sustainability we are developing a group wide action plan to help prevent this abhorrent practice.”
The Declaration includes eleven commitments developed to support global efforts to prevent illegal wildlife smuggling, which encourage the transport industry to help close down the routes exploited by wildlife traffickers. Airlines are able to support in a number of ways including increasing passenger awareness, providing capacity building at airports and working closely to support the efforts of customs and law enforcement authorities.
Tags: Air Seychelles