JetBlue, US agen­cies seek to save Caribbean wildlife

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA -

JETBLUE, THE United States (US) Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice and the US Wildlife Traf­fick­ing Al­liance are seek­ing to ed­u­cate trav­ellers about how to “buy in­formed” and travel smart to the Caribbean.

As part of the part­ner­ship, JetBlue has be­gun air­ing a short film on all flights in­form­ing cus­tomers of the role they play in pro­tect­ing Caribbean wildlife and pre­serv­ing the re­gion’s beauty.

The video, fea­tur­ing lo­cal Caribbean con­ser­va­tion he­roes, aims at arm­ing trav­ellers with the right ques­tions to ask when pur­chas­ing wildlife and plant-re­lated prod­ucts.

Ac­cord­ing to JetBlue, an in­creased in­ter­est in Caribbean wildlife has been fu­elling traf­fick­ing of the area’s plants, an­i­mals and other nat­u­ral re­sources, con­tribut­ing to the de­cline and po­ten­tial ex­tinc­tion of an­i­mal species such as sea tur­tles, blue and gold macaws, and coral reefs.

The Caribbean’s is­land ge­og­ra­phy makes it a highly bio­di­verse re­gion. It is home to ap­prox­i­mately 6,500 plant, 150 bird, 470 rep­tile, 40 mam­mal, 170 am­phib­ian and 65 fish species not found any­where else in the world.

The global wildlife traf­fick­ing cri­sis threat­ens many of these species, which are used, of­ten il­le­gally, as pets, medicine, food, jew­ellery, cloth­ing, sou­venirs and house­hold dec­o­ra­tions.

For ex­am­ple, sea tur­tles are used for food, jew­ellery and items such as combs; birds are taken from the wild and sold as pets or their feath­ers in­cor­po­rated into sou­venirs; unique rep­tiles are sold as ex­otic pets and used for cloth­ing; and coral is taken for use in jew­ellery and decor.

AP

In this Au­gust 16, 2008 file photo, a par­rot­fish is shown swim­ming over a dead coral reef in the Flor­ida Keys Na­tional Marine Sanc­tu­ary near Key West, Flor­ida. Colour­ful par­rot­fish and spindly sea urchins are the key to sav­ing the Caribbean’s coral reefs, which may dis­ap­pear in two decades if no ac­tion is taken, a re­port by sev­eral in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions said in 2014.

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