Be a responsible tourist: a PSA from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sustainability

An increase in illegal wildlife trade in the Caribbean is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of indigenous animal species like sea turtles, parrots, iguanas and coral. We’ve joined forces with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage travelers to play an active role in protecting the beauty and wildlife of one of the world’s most popular destination regions.

Tourism brings 22 million visitors a year to the Caribbean; however, degradation of wildlife and biodiversity could change that. To support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, JetBlue is starting a national dialogue about responsible tourism in the Caribbean:

From the coral reefs of Jamaica to the Narva Swamp of Trinidad & Tobago, and finally to the Levera National Park in Grenada, we’ve highlighted the numerous ways to responsible and mindfully travel, eat and shop in the Caribbean, so that you can leave the region stable for future tourism.

In Jamaica, we meet Wolde Kristos, founder of the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society, which focuses on sustainable fishing practices and coral reef cleaning. His advice to travelers to Jamaica: “As a visitor to our area, we love having you. But, we’re really asking you: not to stand on our coral, not to touch it, not to throw any garbage into our sea. And also, most of all, please do not take any part of our coral. Don’t buy any jewelry made from coral. Nothing!”

In the Nariva Swamp, Trinidad & Tobago, Laura Baboolal from Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean explains how Trinidad faces many issues with wildlife trafficking, including the blue and gold macaw – a beautiful colorful parrot known for its ability to ‘speak’ with humans. Their team focuses on assisting border control on identifying and preventing trafficking. According to Baboolal, observing the birds in the wild can be the best solution to reduce wildlife trafficking.

Finally, we fly to Levera National Park in Grenada, where Kester Charles of Ocean Spirits Inc., tells us about their efforts to protect the beautiful sea turtles found around their island. Due to natural threats, only an estimated one in 1,000 baby sea turtles will survive to adulthood! Yet sadly in the Caribbean, many sea turtles are killed to make jewelry or consume their meat. Ocean Spirits works to protect the sea turtles from poachers, and shared an impressive 80% reduction in poaching since their work started. As a tourist, you can help by not purchasing jewelry made from sea turtle shells, not supporting hotels that serve turtle meat and not disturbing sea turtles in their natural environments.

Learn more from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here and from their Buyer Beware Guide about being a responsible tourist – including what not to buy when you are on your travels!

Natural resources and a healthy environment contribute to JetBlue’s business running smoothly. These resources are essential for the airline to continue flying to these destinations, and tourism relies on having beautiful, natural and preserved destinations for customers to visit.

Customers, crewmembers and communities are key to JetBlue’s sustainability strategy. Demand from these groups for responsible service is one of the motivations behind changes that help to reduce the airline’s environmental impact. For more on JetBlue’s conservation initiatives, visit jetblue.com/green.