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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Qatar Airways signs agreement to help stop illegal wildlife trade

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Photo for illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s national carrier has signed an international agreement to help the transportation industry crack down on the trade of illegal wildlife products.

Qatar Airways is one of 40 global companies that signed a declaration in the UK this week promising to work harder to stop the sale of illegal items such as rhino horn and ivory.

The agreement – the Buckingham Palace Declaration – was spearheaded by United for Wildlife, a charity founded by British royals the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Qatar Airways is a member of the charity’s Transport Taskforce, which was formed to encourage transportation companies to work together to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

Nine other airlines are also part of that taskforce, including fellow Gulf airlines Emirates and Etihad.

Pledges

The new agreement contains 11 commitments to try to shut down worldwide trafficking routes. These include:

  • Establishing secure systems for sharing information about high risk routes and methods of transport;
  • Improving the way information is passed from the transport sector to relevant customs and law enforcement authorities;
  • Refusing to accept or ship illegal cargoes; and
  • Contacting the relevant law enforcement authorities quickly so that traffickers can be found and arrested.

The agreement also encourages companies in wealthy countries to assist those in poorer nations by sharing expertise.

Photo for illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only

In remarks made after the signing, CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker said the airline was “extremely proud” to be part of the initiative:

“As one of the world’s leading airlines, serving customers across six continents, we acknowledge our responsibility to society, to the community and to the environment; therefore we have a strict policy governing the types of animals and animal products that are banned for carriage on board Qatar Airways.”

Ban on hunting trophies

The airline’s policy on the carrying of hunting trophies changed last August after a worldwide outcry over the shooting dead of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter.

In response, Qatar Airways announced that it would refuse to carry all hunting trophies on its aircraft.

The airline already had a ban in place on transporting the bodies of animals threatened with extinction.

But it then expanded its ban to include all animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES.)

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