Taking the Next Step
Illegal Forest Encroachment In Aceh, Indonesia Photo Credit: Jefta Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
How to Get Involved
While this article has focused on Indonesia and Vietnam specifically, it’s important to understand that IWT spans across global markets and industries, and it isn’t always just the obvious products such as furs or bear bile that are the result of IWT. Tourist attractions such as cub petting, elephant rides, or swim-with-the-dolphins experiences can all be byproducts of the IWT, and are often very harmful to the animals, the environment and local communities. Beauty and health products and even home furnishes (such as wood furniture) sold globally may also contain animal or illegal timber byproducts.
And while the global scale of IWT can make being a part of the solution feel overwhelming, there are many resources available for tourists and consumers to aid in responsible consumption (see below for links and resources). Companies like TripAdvisor and ABTA also provide additional resources for travelers to better understand if an activity that includes animals is harmful to their welfare or not.
Below are several resources that provide more information on best practices when traveling, as well as helpful tools for consumers.
- WWF – Buyer Beware Guide
- Humane Society International – Don’t Buy Wild Guide
- FLEGT – Guide for Timber Buyers
- Wildlife Trafficking Alliance – #BuyInformed Guide
- Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime – Environmental Crime Reports