"Don't buy trouble" warns TRAFFIC India's new film on illegal wildlife trade
New Delhi, India, 26th August 2008—TRAFFIC India today released “Don’t Buy Trouble”, a new film advising consumers/tourists against buying illegal wildlife products. The five minute film captures glimpses of the burgeoning illegal wildlife trade in India that threatens the country’s precious flora and fauna and is the latest addition to TRAFFIC India’s consumer awareness “Buyers Beware” campaign.
It is anticipated the film will be shown in airports and other locations where tourists gather. The film was shot by renowned wildlife filmmaker Himanshu Malhotra and has been produced with support from WWF-India.
India is home to many charismatic species of wildlife and is rich in biodiversity. It is also one of the few nations to have elaborate wildlife protection laws. However, the recent spate of illegal wildlife trade, mainly fuelled by demand in other countries, has taken a heavy toll on India’s wildlife.
TRAFFIC India’s ground-breaking Don’t Buy Trouble film highlights aspects of this trade with images of poaching and trade in charismatic species such as Tiger, Leopard, rhino and elephant as well as lesser-known species including mongoose, reptiles, marine turtles, birds, primates, butterflies and other insects, musk deer and medicinal plants.
Besides highlighting the gruesome reality for many species in illegal trade, the film also draws attention to the various national and international laws protecting wildlife and informs viewers about the legal consequences of engaging in such trade.
Targeted mainly at domestic and foreign tourists, the film sends out a clear message that it is not only the poachers and traders who fuel the illegal wildlife trade, but also those who purchase and use such products. If found guilty, offenders are liable to hefty fines and up to seven years of imprisonment. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
“The end consumer is as much as a partner in wildlife crime as the trader or the poacher,” said Samir Sinha, Head of TRAFFIC India.”
Sinha added: “In recent years, illegal wildlife trade has become an international, organised criminal activity that can only be curbed through grassroot action as well as international co-operation and collaboration at the highest levels.
“Equally important is the need to sensitise potential buyers about the dangers of buying illegal wildlife goods, and this film, part of TRAFFIC India’s awareness campaign aims to make buyers beware they could be buying trouble.”
In October 2007, TRAFFIC India launched a Consumer Awareness Campaign with the release of the leaflet, “Are you committing a Crime? Think before you buy”, followed by four posters in February 2008, and now the new film.