EcoHealth Alliance Launches New Ad Campaign To Thwart Illegal Wildlife Trade

NEW YORK – August 9, 2011

EcoHealth Alliance, now in its 40th year of operation, announced the launch of its first-ever advertisement and public awareness campaign surrounding the illegal wildlife trade.  Working in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, large-scale light box ads will appear in 25 locations in both domestic and international terminals throughout three major international airports in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area including LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, and John F. Kennedy airports.  The campaign aims to bring attention to important public health and conservation issues as it relates to the illegal importation of wildlife into the U.S.  “The three major New York airports combined make up the largest airport system in the U.S. handling more than 100 million passengers each year.  Our ads will alert travelers at the ports of entry and will display a quick response (QR) code for people who want to learn more about the implications of smuggling wildlife and wildlife products,” said Dr. Kristine Smith, wildlife veterinarian and Associate Director of Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance.

The advertising campaign is one aspect of EcoHealth Alliance’s new multi-layered program that helps support consumer education surrounding illegal wildlife trade.  EcoHealth Alliance continues to work on a comprehensive plan to combat the threats to conservation, animal welfare, as well as human and animal health from illegal wildlife trade.  Beyond the direct threat of disease spread, the illegal wildlife trade threatens species that are already on the fast track to becoming extinct making this a critical issue.

Current statistics approximate the value of the illegal wildlife trade from $10 – $20 billion; in the media it is often reported as being second only to the black market on narcotics.  The potential adverse effects to public health and animal welfare include the spread of wildlife diseases that can cause illness in people, livestock and native wildlife in the country of origin and along the chain of delivery to final destination points.  Other risks include the introduction of invasive species that can devastate native wildlife populations.  “We hope to convey how the illegal wildlife trade is insidiously impacting our daily lives; emerging diseases from the far corners of the world can be easily booked on the next flight into a major U.S. city from smuggled wildlife,” said Dr. William Karesh, wildlife veterinarian and Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance.  “The illegal trade is far from being a victimless crime, it is threatening our health, our native wildlife, our livestock industry and our pets, and in the process it has become one of the biggest challenges for the future of wild animals around the globe.”

About EcoHealth Alliance
Building on 40 years of innovative science, EcoHealth Alliance is a non-profit international conservation organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and safeguarding human health from the emergence of disease. The organization develops ways to combat the effects of damaged ecosystems on human and wildlife health. Our team specializes in saving biodiversity in human-dominated ecosystems where ecological health is most at risk from habitat loss, species imbalance, pollution and other environmental issues. EcoHealth Alliance scientists also identify and examine the causes affecting the health of global ecosystems in the U.S. and more than 20 countries worldwide. EcoHealth Alliance’s strength is founded on innovations in research, education, training, and support from a global network of EcoHealth Alliance conservation partners. For more information please visit

EcoHealth Alliance is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.