How to Be a Responsible Tourist

From :

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_united_states/index.php

 

The following are some wildlife souvenirs that are commonly found for sale in many locations throughout the world and should definitely stay OFF your shopping list.  Please use extreme caution before buying any animal souvenir.

Elephant Ivory
Reptile Skins
Tortoiseshell
Seahorses
Corals
Seashells
Sharks' Teeth
Big Cat Skins
Caviar
Live Animal Trade
Traditional Medicine
Other Wildlife Items

 

Elephant Ivory


Poaching is still rampant in both Africa and Asia to supply the huge demand for ivory products. Ivory is often carved into jewelry, chopsticks, hair slides, ornaments and name seals. Elephant leather and hair products are also commonly for sale. Because it is sold so openly in some countries, you might not realise it is illegal to bring ivory home with you. 

Reptile Skins

Skins from crocodiles, alligators, snakes, lizards and other reptiles are often made into bags, shoes, watch straps or belts. It is hard to tell the difference between the skin of an endangered and non-endangered species. Many reptiles are protected under international law. Alligator and crocodile products are the wildlife items most frequently seized by Customs.

Tortoiseshell

"Tortoiseshell" is the term commonly used for sea turtle shells, which are frequently turned into souvenirs such as sunglasses, hair slides and jewelry. The beautiful shell of the hawksbill turtle (bekko) is particularly sought after. International trade in the products of all marine turtles is illegal. Yet they are still widely available in resorts all over the world.

Seahorses

The primary uses for seahorses are traditional medicines, souvenirs and curios (dried trade), and trade as aquarium pets (live trade). The global trade in dried seahorses exceeded 24.5 million individuals in 2000. Many hundreds of thousands were also caught that year to supply the expanding pet trade

Corals

Corals are tiny animals that live together in large colonies. They are commonly harvested for souvenirs, especially black, red, bush, hump, finger and lace corals. Corals play an essential role in shallow water reef ecosystems by providing food and shelter for thousands of other species. Many species of corals are protected, with trade either regulated or strictly prohibited.
Seashells Often for sale in a variety of beautiful colours and sizes, seashells are harvested in great quantities. This has pushed some into the endangered zone - especially large ones such as the Queen conch or the giant clam which take many decades to grow. You cannot bring seashells home with you without export and import permits. 
Shark's Teeth Sharks' teeth fashioned into pendants or mounted jaws are common in many coastal resorts around the world. More than 100 million sharks are killed each year.  The increasing trade in shark souvenirs is pushing threatened species closer to extinction. Three species of shark now require export and import permits (basking shark, great white and whale shark).
Big Cat Skins Big cats are the ultimate fashion victims. Tigers, leopards, cheetahs and lions have long been slaughtered for their beautiful and distinctive furs. Despite falling numbers in the wild and the fact that they are protected from international trade, the market for big cat coats, bags, rugs and other trophies continues. Travellers should remember the skins belong to the big cats - and not to us!
Caviar
Caviar (sturgeon eggs) is considered by some as a "luxury." All 27 species of this fish are threatened or endangered, usually caught before they reach sexual maturity. The beluga sturgeon, the world's largest freshwater fish, is now in danger of extinction after 250 million years on Earth. Much of the trade in caviar is controlled by the Russian mafia around the Caspian Sea. Although 250g of caviar is allowed for personal use, it’s best to avoid it. Ninety percent of traded caviar comes from illegal sources.
Live Animal Trade

Some tourists try to bring back animals such as tortoises or other exotic reptiles or birds from foreign resorts. While exotic animals can be purchased from pet shops – many do so without realizing they have been caught in the wild. Sadly, about 90 percent of reptiles and amphibians die before leaving their country of origin, due to inhumane captive and storage conditions. A further 90 percent die within a year after being taken home.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicines are ancient health practices that can be very effective. Tourists may seek the local services of traditional medicine when traveling. The medicines used are made of natural products, mainly herbs, consisting of nearly 11,000 species. While many of these species are not endangered, some products are made from protected tigers, rhinos and bears. Tiger bone, organs, genitals and whiskers are all used to treat various ailments. It is estimated that one tiger out of the 5,000 wild tigers left is poached each day to supply this trade. 

Other Wildlife Items While not always illegal, it is wise to also steer clear of any products made from furs, claws, teeth, butterflies, insects, birds’ eggs or stuffed animals. A great deal of these products ARE from endangered species or misleadingly sold. It's simply not worth the risk.

 

Please be aware that this list is by no means exhaustive.

 

list from :

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_canada_english/join_campaigns/fight_illegal_wildlife_trade/think_twice_-_don't_buy_wildlife_souvenirs/shortcut_of_which_animal_souvenirs_should_you_avoid.php