- Issue: Summer 2017
The next time you travel in search of adventure, fun, or relaxation, make sure your purchases do more good than harm.
Buying souvenirs can help support the local tourism trade, which is an important source of income for many communities. But be sure to choose wisely: Many travelers don’t realize that some openly sold animal and plant products are made from protected species, and that their export or import may be illegal. Commonly sold products made from species at risk include ivory, tortoise shell, reptile skins, furs, and some corals and seashells. In addition to undermining conservation efforts, such purchases may be illegal and subject to confiscation and fines.
Ask these questions before you buy:
- What is this product made of?
- Where did this product come from?
- Does the country I’m visiting allow the sale and export of this product?
- Do I need permits or other documents from this country or the US to take this item home?
Don’t be afraid to purchase unique, handcrafted goods that do not contain animal products. By making informed choices, you can put the power of your purse to work supporting local tourism and reducing the demand for species at risk.