Emirates is on a mission to raise awareness about the threat that the illegal wildlife trade poses to the survival of some of the planet’s most endangered and iconic animals.
Emirates unveiled its fifth A380 emblazoned with special livery in support of United for Wildlife – an alliance between seven of the world’s most influential conservation organisations and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Unlike its four jet-powered siblings, this latest Emirates “United for Wildlife” A380 aircraft is featured in situ, at the traffic roundabout leading to London Heathrow airport – a highly visible site that reaches over million international travelers and their families and friends annually.
One of the largest known aircraft models in the world, the Emirates A380 model at London Heathrow’s roundabout is built to an exact 1:3 scale of a real A380 aircraft. Weighing more than 45 tonnes, the model is the same size as a real Boeing 737.
Over the past six months, Emirates has literally taken its message against the illegal wildlife trade to the skies and across the world. Since November, the airline’s four eye-catching “United for Wildlife” A380 aircraft have flown more than 4.2 million kilometres on over 800 flights, delighting customers, global travellers and plane spotters in 34 cities spanning five continents.
The interest, sharing and discussion generated on social media as a result has helped spread awareness on the issue, with consumers encouraged to refuse products made from endangered species.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “The illegal wildlife trade has brought many of our planet’s most majestic animals to the brink of extinction. It is unthinkable that a generation from now, there may be no more rhinos, elephants or tigers to be found in the wild. The need for action is urgent, and both the demand and supply side of the illegal wildlife trade has to be tackled. Through our global brand footprint, Emirates can help drive consumer awareness and interest in the issue. And as the world’s largest international airline, we believe we can make a difference to help break the supply chain of illegal wildlife trade. We will continue to do all we can in this regard.”
Earlier in the year, as a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, Sir Tim signed the landmark Buckingham Palace Declaration on behalf of Emirates. The Declaration, developed by representatives from across the transport industry outlines key actions to strengthen defences against trafficking by removing the vulnerabilities in transportation and customs that criminals are currently exploiting. This agreement is a result of 12 months of meetings held in London, Geneva, and Dubai, and thousands of hours of work by legal, conservation, transport, and customs experts.
The Rt Hon The Lord Hague of Richmond, Chair of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce said: “Emirates and Sir Tim have contributed enormously to raising awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and are setting a great example for the world’s airlines. Their efforts are part of our work to eliminate the demand for illegal wildlife products. Through complementing other international efforts to tackle this issue airlines are disrupting illegal supply chains. Emirates’ actions are bringing this issue front and centre, taking us one step close to eradication of this appalling crime against wildlife.”
In addition to consumer awareness efforts, Emirates is collaborating with international organisations to train and better equip its ground and cargo staff to detect and deal with illegal wildlife products in transit. As the required paperwork for movement of some wildlife products is often forged, Emirates also made the decision to ban trophy shipments.