The Mentawai langur is listed as an endangered species due to habitat destruction and hunting activities. (Antara Photo/Iggoy el Fitra)

Emirates Issues Zero Tolerance Policy on Banned Species on Flights


JUNE 09, 2020

Jakarta. Dubai-based carrier Emirates answers the call to combat wildlife crime by applying a zero-tolerance policy on banned species on flights. 

Last Friday, the United Nations (UN) celebrated World Environment Day to raise environmental awareness. The organization stated that nearly a million species are now on the brink of extinction.

Wildlife trafficking also remains the fourth largest illicit trade in the world.

"We are committed to tackling illegal wildlife trade, be it as pets, or for their hides, tusks or other body parts used for food, medicine, exotic leathers, jewelry and ornaments – all worth up to $20 billion every year," Emirates public relations officer Sheba Koonan said in a statement on Friday.

Sheba said no banned species, hunting trophies or any products associated with illegal wildlife activities are allowed on any Emirates flight.

According to its 2019-20 annual report, Emirates has been actively rolling out initiatives to save endangered species around the world.

For instance, its ground handling team has been trained on IATA's Live Animal Regulations and internal policies to ensure safe and humane transport for animals.

Last year, nearly 2,600 employees took a course to enable them to identify suspicious cargo that might contain endangered animals.

The carrier's Wolgan Valley resort in Australia also worked alongside local communities to evacuate animals on its site from the Australian bushfire in 2019. Guests were encouraged to participate in restoring the habitat lost in the blaze.

"We now have a seed bank of over one million seeds representing 25 local native species that will now play a vital role in repopulating areas of damage," the report said.

Native wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, reptiles and birdlife have begun to reinhabit the area.

Emirates has also maintained a twenty-year-long partnership with the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) to restore wildlife in the UAE.

Last January, the reserve released 250 commonly hunted MacQueen's bustards back into the wild.

The carrier also partnered with United for Wildlife, Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (Routes) and World Travel and Tourism Council.

To increase awareness, passengers can tune in to wildlife programs and interviews on their in-flight entertainment systems and magazines.

Sheba said lowering carbon emission has also become one of Emirates' priorities. 

The 2019-20 report revealed a decline in their fuel consumption by 71,000 tons or equivalent to 224,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Within the same year, the aircraft reportedly carried 56.2 million passengers and 2.4 million tons of cargo on board.