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Natural Awakenings National

Think Twice: Before Buying Wildlife Souvenirs

Every year customs officers seize thousands of dead wildlife souvenirs from returning travelers, many from endangered and threatened species. Disappearing animals, from elephants to marine turtles, are at risk. Purchased from resorts, airports, boutiques and markets that openly sell illegal and questionable animal products, tourists are unaware they’ve done anything wrong.

Recent investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in South Africa, a popular holiday destination, spotlights the challenge. Researchers found a still thriving trade in ivory carvings, porcupine quills and shark teeth.

Alternatively, purchasing handicraft mementoes that both benefit indigenous peoples and save local animals make exotic gifts twice as nice. All the animals send their thanks.

Sign a petition on behalf of the animals at, search “Wildlife Pledge.”

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