USAID ROUTES, Airports Council International, and Hong Kong International Airport train air transport staff to detect and report wildlife trafficking

Mar 29, 2019

HONG KONG, 29 March 2018— To help detect and report smugglers carrying wildlife and wildlife products through Hong Kong, the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership worked with Airports Council International (ACI) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to hold a stakeholder forum and deliver training on the key role that air transport staff can play in preventing the trafficking of wildlife.

The half-day event delivered by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, covered the local and global implications of wildlife trafficking crimes, common wildlife trafficking trade routes, the modes and methods used by traffickers to smuggle wildlife and wildlife products by air transport, and the best way for airport staff to report suspicious activity to the authorities.

“Wildlife trafficking is a transportation-intensive activity and smugglers carrying illegal wildlife and wildlife products come in to contact with airport and airline staff at multiple points during their journey,” said TRAFFIC’s Michelle Owen, ROUTES Lead. “Increasing the ability of staff to identify and report suspicious activities linked to wildlife trafficking is crucial for stopping traffickers that abuse the transport sector.” 

The workshop provided an opportunity to showcase the good practices for detecting and reporting wildlife trafficking. It also enabled  ACI to work with ROUTES, TRAFFIC and HKIA to develop a protocol to further strengthen the existing mechanisms for sharing information between airport staff and enforcement agencies.

“Wildlife trafficking occurs in every region of the world and airports have been exploited by traffickers in over 130 countries worldwide. The good news is there are concrete steps that airports can take to strengthen their business operations against the smuggling of wildlife. ACI is proud to work with our members and alongside ROUTES to provide training resources and collaborate on new solutions that help airports and airport staff protect vulnerable species.” said Juliana Scavuzzi, Senior Manager of Environment at ACI World.  

ROUTES delivered the wildlife trafficking prevention training workshop as part of an airport discussion forum ahead of the 2019 ACI World Annual General Assembly, which is being hosted this year by Hong Kong International Airport on 2-4 April. ROUTES will attend the Conference to share information and resources on how airports around the world can take steps to strengthen their supply chains against exploitation by wildlife traffickers. There will be a dedicated session on wildlife trafficking on 2 April. 

Many in the transportation sector are recognizing the need to take action against wildlife trafficking. Recently, ROUTES released e-learning modules that are openly available to cabin crew, cargo acceptance staff, check-in staff, and ground handlers to learn the essentials of how to detect and report wildlife trafficking cases. In addition, ROUTES has developed general training materials and conducted trainings across Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia to train airport and airline employees in key wildlife trafficking hubs.





The USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership brings together government agencies, transportation and logistics industry companies and representatives, international conservation, development and law enforcement organizations and donors in order to disrupt wildlife trafficking activities, and forms a key element of the concerted international response to addressing wildlife poaching and associated criminal activities worldwide.

At the heart of ROUTES is a core group of partners collaborating with the U.S. Government and the transport sector that includes the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), Freeland, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), TRAFFIC and WWF. The Partnership is funded by USAID and coordinated by TRAFFIC. To learn more, visit or follow @ROUTESPartners


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for the majority of overseas development assistance from the United States Government and leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people on their journey to self-reliance. For more information please visit or follow @USAID on Facebook and Twitter.


TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. For more information, visit or follow @TRAFFIC_WLTrade

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2019, ACI serves 646 members, operating 1,960 airports in 176 countries.

About Hong Kong International Airport  

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is one of the busiest aviation hubs in the world, connecting to over 220 destinations and serving over 1,100 daily flights by more than 120 airlines. In 2018, HKIA handled 74.7 million passengers and over 427,700 aircraft movements. Cargo tonnage handled reached 5.1 million, the first airport in the world to reach 5 the million mark.