Heathrow press releases

12 August, 2017

Heathrow unites for World Elephant Day


To celebrate World Elephant Day and help stomp out illegal trade of wildlife, Heathrow has created and installed a pop-up interactive display at the airport’s Terminal 5 today.

The pop-up will be run in partnership with Border Force and IAG Cargo to support United for Wildlife’s ‘United for Elephants’ Campaign and raise awareness of critically endangered species. Heathrow will unite airport partners and travellers under a common purpose – to create a global movement for change – using interactive games and displays.

The installation will feature a limited edition Angry Birds ‘united for elephants’ game, elephant masks for kids and virtual reality headsets taking travellers to visit elephants in the Serengeti to inspire them to learn about and help protect endangered species. Representatives from Border Force and IAG Cargo will also be on hand to provide passengers with further information about elephants and illegal trade. Border Force’s CITES team will also display examples of elephant product seized at Heathrow.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability said:

“As a leading international travel hub, Heathrow has a responsibility to take the best possible care of everyone and everything that passes through our gates. We are proud to be a key signatory of the United for Wildlife Buckingham Palace Declaration and are committed to working with our partners to create a world worth traveling, for future generations.”

As part of Heathrow’s plan for sustainable growth – Heathrow 2.0 – the airport is committed to take action to help curb illegal trade in endangered species, and therefore protect the world’s precious wildlife. This event is part of that commitment and will help Heathrow to meet its ambition to ensure no illegal wildlife or illegal animal products pass through the airport.

Naomi Doak, Head of Conservation Programmes, United for Wildlife said:

 “Working with the private sector and in particular transport companies is crucial if we are going to break the supply chain for illegal wildlife products. The work that Heathrow, Border Force and IAG Cargo are doing on this issue provides a leading light not only in activities like this one on World Elephant Day, but also as a group of organisations from across the sector working together. It is only through effective partnerships like this that we will be able to create a future for some of the world’s most iconic species.”

Grant Miller, head of the Border Force CITES team, said:

 “Although this was a fun event it had a very serious message behind it. Ivory smuggling on export from the UK is a serious contributory factor in the threat of extinction faced by many species of elephant. Border Force’s specialist CITES team takes its role in preventing illegal wildlife trafficking very seriously and, working together with our partners in the UK and internationally, we are determined to bring it to an end. We continue to work with the transport sector to develop more eyes and ears on the ground and make Heathrow an ethical gateway to the world.”

Gabriella Tamasi, Live Animal Product Compliance Manager at IAG Cargo said:

“The air cargo industry plays an important role in the protection of endangered species, we regularly transport animals protected under CITES and as a signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration for ‘United for Wildlife’ we are proud to be working closely with our partners to ensure that all animals are transported and treated in the safest and best possible way”.





United for Wildlife

United for Wildlife was created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Led by The Duke of Cambridge, our campaign unites the world’s leading wildlife charities under a common purpose: to create a global movement for change.

United for Wildlife is committed to fighting the illegal wildlife through:

• Better On-Site Protection for wildlife
• Reduce demand for illegal wildlife products
• Improve law enforcement
• Work with the private sector to reduce trafficking
• Engage young people with conservation


Heathrow is the only airport signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration - an agreement aimed at shutting down transport routes exploited by wildlife traffickers. The declaration was drafted by United for Wildlife, a collaboration of conservation organisations and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Border Force

In the UK, Border Force is responsible for front-line detection and seizure of endangered animals and plants covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between governments and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The convention covers more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens or as derivatives.

The Border Force CITES team, based at Heathrow but covering the whole of the UK, are highly regarded specialists in the field of endangered species and work closely with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, National Crime Agency and police forces on investigations and provide expert advice on import and export issues. They also act as the main point of contact for other enforcement agencies and Non Government Organisations in endangered species related issues.

IAG Cargo

IAG Cargo is the single business created following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo in April 2011. Following the integration of additional airlines and operations into the business, including Aer Lingus, Vueling, bmi and LEVEL, IAG Cargo now covers a network of over 350 destinations.