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Thursday, March 03, 2016

JetBlue & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announce New Partnership to Reduce Demand for Illegal Wildlife Trade

JetBlue and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are joining forces to encourage and empower travelers to play a role in protecting the beauty and wildlife of one of the world’s most popular destination regions: the Caribbean. An increase in illegal wildlife trade in the area is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of indigenous animal species such as sea turtles, parrots, iguanas and coral.

“Tourism brings 22 million visitors a year to the Caribbean. Degradation of wildlife and biodiversity is a risk to demand for air travel to the region, thus impacting JetBlue,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability, JetBlue. “We’ve partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a large-scale dialogue and action highlighting the numerous ways to travel, eat and shop in the Caribbean, leaving the region stable for future tourism.”

JetBlue and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed a five-year partnership agreement, which will launch with a customer education and awareness campaign. The Service and JetBlue will work together beyond the initial onboard video to develop online content, social media campaigns and strategies that will reduce demand for illegal wildlife.

JetBlue will use one of its core differentiators - TVs available at every seat on all flights - to inform customers about responsible travel and shopping practices in the Caribbean. Through an online casting call, JetBlue will recruit Caribbean natives including those in the travel industry to tell their stories in a short inflight video. Participants will discuss their commitment and efforts to protect the future of tourism and the natural resources of their local communities and countries. The call will identify stories that showcase tangible solutions are underway.  Champions of Caribbean conservation can share their stories through March 27 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/caribbeancasting 
“The Caribbean is considered to be a wildlife trafficking hotspot,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We are thrilled to work with JetBlue to empower travelers and Caribbean residents to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. We are committed to protecting these special places and species, and with the public as our partners, we can support conservation worldwide by asking questions and learning the facts before buying any wildlife or plant product.”

JetBlue’s Commitment to the Environment - JetBlue depends on natural resources and a healthy environment to keep its business running smoothly. Natural resources are essential for the airline to fly and tourism relies on having beautiful, natural and preserved destinations for customers to visit. The airline focuses on issues that have the potential to impact its business. Customers, crewmembers and community are key to JetBlue's sustainability strategy. Demand from these groups for responsible service is one of the motivations behind changes that help reduce the airline’s environmental impact. For more on JetBlue’s conservation initiatives, visit jetblue.com/green.