In commemoration of World Environment Day, Avianca and WCS announced the extension of their alliance in Colombia to include Ecuador, featuring a new commemorative design on one of the airline's planes with the message: "Together for Biodiversity.”

BOGOTÁ, June 12, 2024 – As part of the agreement signed in June 2023 between Avianca and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), these two organizations have significantly advanced their joint efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and promote biodiversity conservation. This agreement supports Avianca's implementation of international commitments to prevent wildlife trafficking, such as the 2016 Buckingham Palace Declaration.

Wildlife trafficking represents a severe threat to global biodiversity. Especially in biodiverse countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia—where vast, difficult-to-monitor areas facilitate illegal extraction and transportation of wildlife—wildlife trafficking threatens priority species in the region such as jaguars, tortoises, freshwater turtles, amphibians, and macaws. According to official data on wildlife confiscations in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia for the period from 2010 to 2018, nearly 60,000 confiscation events were documented. These events represented more than 900 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. From 2010 to 2018, more than 28,000 live individuals were confiscated at major airports in the above-mentioned countries.

To date, and within the framework of the Together for Conservation project, an alliance with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and WCS aimed at strengthening civil society organizations to prevent environmental crimes, Avianca's internal policies in Colombia have been reviewed to improve the detection and reporting of wildlife trafficking cases to the relevant authorities. Additionally, staff has been trained on the company’s commitments and policies against wildlife trafficking, as well as on detecting and preventing this crime. WCS and Avianca have also promoted communication activities to highlight the importance of wildlife conservation.

As a result of this successful collaboration and in commemoration of World Environment Day, Avianca and WCS announced the extension of their alliance to Ecuador, with a new commemorative design on one of the airline's planes, carrying the message: "United for Biodiversity." This reaffirms their joint commitment to the protection and conservation of species and ecosystems in Latin America. The aircraft with this design was presented during the launch of Avianca's 2023 Sustainability Report, led by Federico Pedreira, CEO of Avianca.

For José Luis Gómez, Regional WCS Regional Director, the collaboration with the private sector is essential to achieve tangible results and scale the impact of WCS’s actions for wildlife protection. “Our alliance with Avianca is a critical step in disrupting the pernicious trafficking that is devastating wildlife populations in Latin America,” emphasizes Gomez.

Felipe Andrés Gómez Vivas, Director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability at Avianca, noted, “We want to spread the message of our commitment to wildlife throughout the Americas because we seek to raise awareness within our target public on the importance of protecting biodiversity. Our alliance with WCS has allowed us to train about 20 employees to become protectors of our species."

Said Dino Delgado, USAID/Amazon Regional Environmental Governance Team Leader, “By working with strategic private stakeholders, we aim to reduce the enabling environments that facilitate the supply, transportation, and demand for unsustainable and illegal Amazon goods and services. USAID strives to support a healthy and resilient Amazon basin that is valued by society, ensures human well-being, and safeguards our global climate.”

Through this alliance, WCS will continue working with Avianca on the review and strengthening of internal processes for detecting potential cases of wildlife trafficking and the training of teams in the prevention and handling of this crime within the airline's operations at a regional level.

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