The beauty and bio-diversity of our world is an inspiration for travel, and Emirates is committed to doing our part to preserve natural habitats and stop the illegal wildlife trade which is driving endangered species to the brink of extinction.
Conservation of habitats
Emirates has actively supported fragile habitats since 1999, when it established the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in Dubai with a 27 square kilometres conservation reserve for the protection of desert fauna and flora. In its first years, 70 Arabian Oryx were re-introduced and 6,000 indigenous trees and shrubs planted.
This became the foundation for the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), which was created in 2003 and expanded the protected land area to 225 square kilometres. Representing about 5% of Dubai’s total land area, this is the biggest piece of land which Dubai has dedicated to a single project. Emirates funds the DDCR, and sits on its management board.
Following the success of Al Maha and the DDCR, in 2009 Emirates opened the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. One of Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resorts, it occupies just 1% of a 2,800 hectare nature reserve in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Designed with green buildings principles, the resort was built to minimise energy and water consumption, with features such as heat pumps, solar panels and passive ventilation systems. On opening, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley was the first carboNZero©™ certified hotel in the world, and the first carbon neutral resort to be certified through an internationally accredited greenhouse gas programme.
Emirates invested over AU$ 125 million into this project to ensure the conservation of the unique bio-diversity of this valley and has since planted over 175,000 native trees and shrubs across the site.
Tackling the illegal wildlife trade
As a major international aviation business, Emirates is committed to making a positive difference in combatting the illegal wildlife trade, and to marshalling our resources in support of this cause. We have zero tolerance on carrying banned species, hunting trophies or any products associated with illegal wildlife activities.
Our ground handling colleagues are trained in IATA’s Live Animal Regulations and our internal policies on carrying wildlife. Our frontline employees are trained to recognise and report suspicious cargo. We have established a dedicated reporting channel to empower our people and partners to stop illegal trade by flagging confidential information that can protect endangered species.
In addition to internal campaigns to create awareness amongst our workforce, Emirates also engages with our customers by regularly featuring interviews, wildlife programmes and films on ice, our inflight entertainment system, and articles in Open Skies our inflight magazine.
Since 2015, five Emirates A380 aircraft featuring animals threatened by poaching, have been flying across six continents to help raise awareness of the issue at airports around the world, and among the millions of passengers we carry each year across our network.
Efforts to protect endangered wildlife are ongoing and we know it is not something any single entity or industry can accomplish alone. Trying to foil the illegal wildlife trade require the support and co-ordinated efforts of multiple parties including regulators, law enforcement, customs and border control, local communities, transport and logistics players.