How to Avoid Buying Illegal Souvenirs

Megan Koelemay August 7, 2009 0
Illegal Souvenirs

WWF has launched their new “Make a Good Buy” website to discourage tourists from buying illegal wildlife souvenirs, such as these sea shells. © TRAFFIC North America

Every year, millions of tourists in the Caribbean and Mexico buy wildlife curios as souvenirs – often without any inkling that they are supporting unsustainable and illegal wildlife.

Some travelers don’t think twice about buying wildlife like Mexican parrots or products made from turtles, iguanas, and coral – all protected by domestic or international laws. Shop owners are often unaware that some of the wildlife products on sale required export permits or may be illegal to take back to the United States or Europe – or they know, but pretend not to.

There have even been reports of wildlife smugglers posing as cruise tourists, using the anonymity of mass tourism to poach rare species.TRAFFIC, the joint wildlife trade monitoring program of World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, is working with governments, some of the cruise lines, traders, and tourists to promote good buys that will save wildlife and boost local economies.

Learn more about these efforts – and how you, as a tourist, can make a good decision – on the  new Make a Good Buy website.

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