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Endangered animals species confiscated

posted on 14/03/2004: 5982 views

Staff of the UAE CITES Management Authority from the Federal Environment Agency (FEA) raided recently pet shops at the animal market in Mina Area in the capital and confiscated a number of endangered animals being sold illegally without the proper documentation. This raid netted monkeys, a snake and a tortoise. CITES official source said that the confiscated animal were of different species included five Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) - found in Africa, one Royal Python (Python regius) - found in West Africa, and, one African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) - found in the Sahel region of Africa.

All of these animals are listed in CITES Appendix II of which the import of any specimen requires the prior presentation of an export or re-export permit, according to a press release from ERWDA. The specimens were confiscated and the pet shop attendants were given a letter declaring that they had violated Article no. 27 of Federal Law no. (11) for the year 2002 on Regulating and Controlling International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by displaying to the public endangered species with no accompanying CITES certificates neither the registration by the FEA as it this the CITES Management Authority in Abu Dhabi Emirate.

Article 27 of the law stated that any person having in their possession or under their control, or sell or offer for sale or display to the public, any specimen of species listed in the Appendices without carrying out the registration provided by assigned authorities, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, and/ or a fine of not less than five thousand dirhams but not to exceed thirty thousand dirhams.

All CITES responsible authorities in the UAE are collaborating their efforts to ratify the Federal Law and CITES by taking urgent actions to combat illegal trade in wildlife. These include the Federal Environmental Agency (the CITES Management Authority for Abu Dhabi), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (the CITES Management Authority for the Northern Emirates), and The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) the CITES Scientific Authority) on local CITES implementation with the supporting efforts of other international bodies such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Re-introduction Specialist Group (RSG), which is hosted by ERWDA.

Ministry of Interior is yet another key player in this regards where without their tremendous efforts such raid would not be a success. It is worth while to note that UAE is intensifying its fight against illegal trade in endangered species in line with the Federal Law no. 11 that was issued to enforce the CITES Convention and help to identify strict legal procedures to control illegal trade in wildlife trade and penalize violators.

According to the law all specimen of the endangered species included in the Appendices require a CITES certificate from the country of origin in addition to the prior issue of an export or re-export permit from the FEA in Abu Dhabi Emirate and from MAF in Northern Emirates Inline with these efforts the UAE has also developed a country wide falcons- registration scheme which includes issuing passports for falcons to control their movements in and out of the country.

UAE is also focusing its efforts on protecting the natural environment, wildlife and biological diversity by carrying out several research studies on desert, marine and wildlife species and their habitat with the ultimate objective of developing and conserving them. Due some cases of illegal trade in endangered species the CITIES Secretariat suspended trade in November 2001 for import, export or re-export of any of the CITES listed species to and from UAE.

The FEA, MAF and ERWDA took several urgent actions to combat illegal trade in wildlife, and to reorganize the CITES legal framework in the country. One year later, the ban was lifted after taking these actions. Trade in wildlife is a major global problem that affects the survival of flora and fauna and in recent times, has reached unprecedented levels. From small-time poaching and hunting, it has grown into a well-organized, sophisticated network of racketeers across the world, who carry out a trade ring worth an estimated billion dollars worldwide

The global wildlife trade includes primates, ivory from African elephants, orchids, live birds, reptile skins, butterflies, animal furs, and tropical fish. Wildlife trade ranges from live animals and plants to a vast array of products derived from them, from food, timber and leather goods to musical instruments, souvenirs and medicines. CITES was developed with the clear mandate to protect wild species for over exploitation by international trade and support other efforts to conserve marine and terrestrial species. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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