JetBlue, U.S. Fish And Wildlife Partner To Protect Caribbean Species

JetBlue is teaming up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help Caribbean vacationers avoid contributing to the illicit trade of threatened and endangered species.

The five-year customer education and awareness campaign will feature a series of videos played at every seat on the airline’s flights about responsible travel and shopping practices in the Caribbean.

JetBlue is collecting stories from visitors and tourism partners already working to help vacationers protect the future of tourism and the natural resources in the popular tropical destination. Stories can be collected here. JetBlue and USFWS will work together to create additional online content and social media campaigns for future distribution.



“The Caribbean is considered to be a wildlife trafficking hotspot,” USFWS Director Dan Ashe said in a statement. “We are thrilled to work with JetBlue to empower travelers and Caribbean residents to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. We are committed to protecting these special places and species, and with the public as our partners, we can support conservation worldwide by asking questions and learning the facts before buying any wildlife or plant product.” 

The Caribbean is home to six of the world’s seven sea turtle species and 14% of the world’s coral reefs. Nearly one-third of the plants and animals in the Caribbean islands are found nowhere else in the world. Increased illegal wildlife trade is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of animal species such as sea turtles, parrots, iguanas and coral.

With 22 million visitors each year to the Caribbean, illicit trade jeopardizes the wildlife and biodiversity of the region, which potentially could impact JetBlue’s business, explained Sophia Mendelsohn, who heads sustainability for JetBlue.

“We’ve joined with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a large-scale dialogue and action highlighting the numerous ways to travel, eat and shop in the Caribbean that leaves the region stable for future tourism,” she said in statement.

The products to watch for in the Caribbean include all sea turtle items; certain leather products made from skins of lizards, snakes or crocodiles; feathers from wild birds; spotted cat skin or fur; and coral items. Travelers also should avoid live birds, including many parrots, macaws and cockatoos; live monkeys; and live plants including certain orchids, cacti and cycads.

Some products may be legally purchased and transported with a permit, but it’s important for buyers to ask questions about the sources of items they purchase while in the Caribbean and obtain the appropriate permits for their purchases.

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