Avianca and WCS Partner to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

An Avianca Boeing 787 in special Wildlife Conservation Society livery.
Photo Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

Avianca and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have taken significant strides in their joint fight against wildlife trafficking and for biodiversity conservation since their June 2023 agreement.

This agreement supports Avianca’s implementation of international commitments to prevent wildlife trafficking, such as the 2016 Buckingham Palace Declaration.

In commemoration of World Environment Day, Avianca and WCS announced the extension of their alliance in Colombia to include Ecuador.

The occasion was marked with a new commemorative design on one of the airline’s planes with the message: “Together for Biodiversity.”

The Threat to Biodiversity

Wildlife trafficking poses a major threat to global biodiversity, particularly in biodiverse countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia.

These vast regions, with areas difficult to monitor, become prime targets for illegal wildlife extraction and transportation.

This trafficking threatens iconic species like jaguars, tortoises, freshwater turtles, amphibians, and macaws.

Official data on wildlife confiscations in these countries from 2010 to 2018 paints a grim picture.

It shows there were nearly 60,000 confiscations involving over 900 bird, mammal, amphibian, and reptile species.

Even more alarming, over 28,000 live animals were confiscated at major airports during the same period.

Taking Action: “Together for Conservation” Project

Avianca isn’t standing idly by. Through the “Together for Conservation” project, Avianca reviewed its internal policies in Colombia to improve wildlife trafficking detection and reporting.

The project is a collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and WCS,

Staff received comprehensive training on the company’s anti-trafficking policies and how to identify and prevent this crime.

Additionally, WCS and Avianca launched communication initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.

Success and Expansion: “United for Biodiversity”

This successful partnership led to Avianca and WCS extending their alliance to Ecuador on World Environment Day.

A special commemorative design featuring the message “United for Biodiversity” now adorns one of Avianca’s planes, symbolizing their commitment to protecting Latin American species and ecosystems.

This aircraft was showcased during the launch of Avianca’s 2023 Sustainability Report.

For José Luis Gómez, WCS Regional Director, collaboration with the private sector is crucial for achieving tangible results and amplifying their wildlife protection efforts.

He emphasizes, “Our alliance with Avianca is a critical step in disrupting the destructive trafficking that plagues Latin American wildlife populations.”

An Avianca Boeing 787 in special Wildlife Conservation Society livery.
Photo Credits: Wildlife Conservation Society

Shared Commitment to Wildlife Protection

Felipe Andrés Gómez Vivas, Avianca’s Director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability, explains the goals. “We want to spread our commitment to wildlife conservation throughout the Americas,” he states.

“Our partnership with WCS has allowed us to train around 20 employees as wildlife protectors, raising awareness among our audience about the importance of biodiversity.”

Dino Delgado, USAID/Amazon Regional Environmental Governance Team Leader, added further explanation.

“By working with strategic private sector partners, we aim to dismantle the systems that enable the supply, transport, and demand for illegal and unsustainable goods and services from the Amazon.”

“USAID strives for a healthy and resilient Amazon basin, valued by society, ensuring human well-being, and safeguarding our global climate.”

Through this ongoing alliance, WCS will collaborate with Avianca to further strengthen internal procedures for detecting potential wildlife trafficking.  It will train teams across Avianca’s regional operations on prevention and handling of this crime.

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

To achieve its mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program. This is active in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans, and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually.

WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquariums to achieve its conservation mission.

Click the banner to subscribe to our weekly newsleter.

Click the photo to join our WhatsApp channel so then you can stay up to date with everything going on in the aviation industry!

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
You Might Also Enjoy