‘You Buy They Die’ anti-wildlife crime campaign targets public’s demand for wildlife products;
WRS and TRAFFIC sign memorandum of understanding

Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Singapore, 7 March 2015 – Growing affluence, purchasing power and globalisation all spell disaster for Southeast Asia’s wildlife as rising demand for their skin, meat and body parts is driving thousands of species in the region towards extinction.

Illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar business, and said to be among the most profitable illicit trades, alongside drugs, arms and human trafficking. This trade often deliberately targets highly threatened animals to meet the demand for exotic meat, traditional medicine, pets and luxury items, directly causing drastic declines in wildlife numbers.

In a bid to increase awareness on the threats faced by animals in the wild, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia have come together to launch the ‘You Buy They Die’ campaign to fight wildlife crime on 7 March 2015.

Taking on a somber tone that is distinctly different from Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Jurong Bird Park’s usual child friendly setting, the year-long ‘You Buy They Die’ anti-wildlife crime campaign will see interpretative placed in the three parks to educate the public on the seriousness of wildlife crime and how their buying decisions can help support the conservation of endangered wildlife.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Illegal wildlife trade often goes unnoticed in our day to day living, but can have devastating consequences, pushing many animal species to the brink of extinction. It is imperative that people understand how the diverse markets for animal parts can severely threaten the survival of these species. We hope that by presenting the facts to our visitors, people will be more conscious and do their part for the conservation of endangered wildlife.”

Campaign interpretative feature harsh but realistic scenarios that animals face in the wild—images of rhinoceros butchered for their horns, dead pangolin mothers pregnant with babies, freshly killed bear cub cut open to remove the gall bladder, and dead bats hung up to be sold as meat—as an appeal to curb demands.

In addition to urging people to refrain from wildlife trade, the campaign aims to help the public recognise instances of wildlife crime, and appeal to them to report such cases to local authorities.

To reach out to children, Singapore Zoo will introduce the Ranger Ooz Education Trail from 14 – 22 March 2015 that will teach children through interactive exhibits and activity sheets what they can do to fight illegal wildlife crime. All children entering WRS parks will be given a ranger awareness kit for them to take home.

In conjunction with the launch of ‘You Buy They Die’ campaign, WRS and TRAFFIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen and formalise their partnership.

“Fighting wildlife crime is everyone’s responsibility and we’re glad to see organisations like WRS take up the call. By investing funds and using their powerful reach to galvanize public support, they’re giving the effort an immense boost.” said Dr. Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia. “The key message to the public really is that everyone has a role to play in bringing about an end to the illegal wildlife trade.”

The two organisations have previously collaborated on ad hoc projects to curb wildlife crime, such as in-depth research on illegal wildlife trade, and helping regional authorities in wildlife conservation efforts through the provision of identification guides and training.

Committed to fighting illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade and ensuring the conservation of threatened wildlife, WRS is Singapore’s designated rescued wildlife centre for live confiscated wildlife. It has received and managed confiscated wildlife from the governing authority for over two decades.