Even though we want you to keep an eye out for any illegal wildlife trade activity and report anything suspicious you may see-we do want you to make sure you keep yourself safe at all times.
If you download the Wildlife Witness app you will be able to find more ‘reporting tips’-but we’ve put together a few below to get you started:
- Don’t put yourself at risk! Be sensible and discrete; don’t make your report directly in front of the witnessed trade and only take photos if it’s safe to do so.
- Don’t buy wildlife products or try to set up a sale; animals could be taken from the wild to complete your order!
- Don’t point out illegal items to the sellers or staff selling the products.
Look out for the different types of illegal wildlife trade-for example:
- Shops or markets – be extra vigilant when at markets and / or shops. Keep an eye out for medicines-souvenirs-carvings-trinkets-jewellery and fashion items that may be made using wild animal products.
- Restaurants – look out for wildlife items on restaurant menus-at food stalls or at road side eateries. Dishes on the menu that are described as ‘delicacies’ may actually contain illegal wildlife!
- Live animal displays – live wildlife can be on display in shops-restaurants or bars. Exotic animals that are being used for ‘tourist photos’ might have been sourced illegally and roadside zoos and private collections may also be stocked by illegal trade.
- Poaching – taking wild animals from their natural habitat is illegal so if you’re travelling to or near any forested areas keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious activity. If you spot any traps-snares or nets these are sometime a sign that poaching is taking place. Don’t touch them! Just record where you’ve spotted them-and make sure you include a description of the surrounding area.
DO – be careful not to arouse suspicion-if you think something illegal is taking place follow the staying safe tips and then make a report.
DO – steer clear of animals in markets and other public places that are used for a ‘photo opportunity’. If the animal is being used as a selfie prop or to entertain people chances are they are not happy. It is likely these wild creatures are being kept as pets and often mistreated with the aim of making them be able to be around humans like you.
DO – get out there! When done well eco-tourism provides an alternate income for local communities that would reduce their reliance on other activities that may impact wildlife or habitats.
DO – be mindful of your surroundings. Leave no trace. Take nothing from the environment (for example, coral while diving in the ocean).
DO – reduce demand for illegal wildlife parts and products by encouraging others to ask questions and get the fact before buying any wildlife of plant product.
DO – lend your eyes to the wild – download the Wildlife Witness and report any incidents of illegal wildlife trade that you may see.