Zoo and aquarium leaders urge Angelenos, don’t buy illegal wildlife items abroad

Zoo and aquarium leaders urge Angelenos, don’t buy illegal wildlife items abroad

The Los Angeles Zoo announced a new exhibit at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on Tuesday, June 11, that introduces the “I Travel for Wildlife” campaign to L.A. with the goal of ending the trade of illegal wildlife and wildlife products that undermine crucial animal populations around the world, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The public display includes items often sold to oversea travelers including jewelry, accessories, purses, art and decorative items. Each example “serves as a sobering reminder of the toll exacted by the illegal wildlife trade on endangered species and ecosystems,” the L.A. Zoo said in a written statement.

The Los Angeles Zoo has installed a new exhibit at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The display brings the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s “I Travel for Wildlife” campaign to Los Angeles with the intent of eliminating the trade of illegal wildlife and wildlife products that fuels the depletion of wildlife populations across the globe. (Photo courtesy Carl Myers, Los Angeles Zoo)

The messaging focuses on an illegal wildlife trade that “is driving species to extinction” and it urges SoCal travelers to help combat the trade of wildlife products and do their part in preserving global biodiversity.

The campaign’s goal is to educate people who could unknowingly contribute to the problem by buying items abroad. Denise M. Verret, Los Angeles Zoo CEO and  director said in a prepared statement, “Los Angeles is a major port of entry for illegal wildlife, and we recognize the importance of coordinated action to address this pressing global issue.”

The Los Angeles Zoo has installed a new exhibit at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The display brings the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s “I Travel for Wildlife” campaign to Los Angeles with the intent of eliminating the trade of illegal wildlife and wildlife products that fuels the depletion of wildlife populations across the globe. (Photo courtesy Carl Myers, Los Angeles Zoo)

Martin Elam, deputy executive director of public safety and security at Los Angeles World Airports, said in a prepared statement, “We are committed to taking proactive measures to combat this illicit trade and protect wildlife for future generations.”

Elam cited a broad partnership that includes Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LAX and the Los Angeles Zoo.

Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said, “Wildlife trafficking isn’t just a wildlife problem, it’s also a people problem. … Together, we can stop wildlife trafficking.”

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