Air Canada First NA Airline Recognized For Efforts In Combatting Wildlife Trafficking

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Air Canada has received the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) certification for its efforts in combating wildlife trafficking.

"We are proud to be the first airline in North America to achieve this industry standard by taking concrete steps in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking, as part of a global effort to help conserve wildlife and biodiversity," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada. 

"Air Canada remains committed to operating its business in a sustainable, responsible and ethical way, and is dedicated to the prevention of wildlife trafficking and raising awareness on the issue and its consequences. We look forward to working with key stakeholders and conservation organizations to further combat illegal wildlife trafficking." 

According to Air Canada, the international illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth between $7 and $23 billion, affecting more than 7,000 species every year.

IATA's IWT certification incorporates the 11 commitments of the United for Wildlife Buckingham Palace Declaration for airlines engaged in fighting the trade in illegal wildlife, which Air Canada recently signed.

The Buckingham Palace Declaration specifies various commitments for airlines designed to make it harder for poachers to ship their illegal products to markets where they can be sold for profit. Measures include:

  • Adopting a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trade. 
  • Improving the industry's ability to share information about illegal activities. 
  • Encouraging as many members of the transport sector as possible to sign on. 


The preservation of biodiversity is not the only area impacted by the illegal wildlife trade, notes AC, as wildlife trafficking bypasses health checks at borders and presents a threat of disease transmission to both animals and humans. 

Air Canada says it also has a policy not to carry any shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and water buffalo trophies as freight, or primates intended for laboratory research. In 2018, Air Canada Cargo became the first airline to achieve the IATA's certification for meetings its standards in the transport of live animals.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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