American Airlines Cargo announced that it had joined United for Wildlife, a group dedicated to ending the illegal trafficking of wildlife, as first reported in the airline’s 2022 Sustainability Report. American signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration in December 2022, making it the first U.S. airline and U.S. cargo carrier to join the organization.
United for Wildlife was founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014 to protect endangered species from illegal trade. As a member of the Transport Taskforce and the North American Chapter, American plays a vital role in stopping the illegal trafficking of wildlife by preventing these products from being transported across borders.
Together with other players along the supply chain and regional partners from various sectors, American Airlines Cargo is part of a critical network of stakeholders trained to recognize patterns of illegal wildlife trade where it is most prevalent.
“We are proud to be the first U.S. cargo carrier to join United for Wildlife. We take our membership in the Transport Taskforce very seriously and are committed to doing our part to put an end to wildlife smuggling within the supply chain,” said Cargo President Greg Schwendinger. “It’s a privilege to link up with other industries and logistics players to fight for this mission together.”
Ian Cruickshank, United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Manager, said: “Airlines can play a vital role in disrupting the supply chains of international criminal syndicates trafficking in vulnerable and endangered species. No country is immune from these crimes – between 2009 and 2021; there were an average of seven wildlife seizures a day at US airports. We’re thrilled to welcome American Airlines on board as our first U.S. airline partner and look forward to working together into the future to drive down this exploitation.”
The criminal wildlife trafficking trade is estimated to be worth up to $20 billion annually as poachers and traffickers illegally trade wildlife and wildlife products, such as monkeys, rhino horn, ivory, pangolin scales or tiger parts, among many others. This illegal trade is a major threat to global biodiversity and human health and is linked to many other criminal acts.