Illegal trading with endangered species of animals is the world’s fifth largest organized form of crime, following counterfeit items, narcotics, weapons and human trafficking. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has created a global campaign against illegal trade with endangered species, especially directed towards Thailand, Vietnam and China where the demand is the highest. The aim is that the campaign will encourage authorities in the three countries to contribute to the protection of endangered species.
The campaign concentrates on rhinos and elephants.
Many products are forbidden through the convention of trade with endangered species of animals and plants (CITES) but for tourists it can be difficult knowing what is legal and what is not. WWF created a checklist for tourists so they do not purchase and bring home illegal items.
– Do not purchase belts, purses or wallets that are made from snake or crocodile skin – they might be made from cobra. Be skeptical of vendors claiming the skin comes from farming.
– Do not bring home orchids – many species are endangered and protected.
– Do not buy souvenirs made from tiger. The Sumatra-tiger is endangered with only 500 specimens left. Also avoid stuffed animals and do not buy souvenirs made from sea turtles. You also need a permit for bringing home snake skins and coral decorations.
Ivory and traditional medicin such as bear’s gall is illegal to bring out of China. It is also prohibited to export many forms of food products.