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23 February 2024

EPAA thwarts smuggling of rare animals

By Wam

Sharjah's Environment and Protected Areas Authority, EPAA, has prevented the smuggling of several animals included within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, on land borders, in cooperation with the Sharjah Police General Headquarters, Al Madam Police Station.

According to a statement released by the authority, a group of individuals of a Gulf country nationality were caught attempting to smuggle into the UAE, nine birds from the hornbill family species, and eight Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensi). The confiscated animals are not only an endangered species but are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, Class 1.

Al Madam Police Station took all necessary measures against the smugglers and handed over the animals to the EPAA.

The Siamese crocodile is a small to medium-sized, freshwater species distinguished by a prominent bony crest at the back of its head. It is one of the world’s rarest reptiles, listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered.

One of the birds belongs to the hornbill (Bucerotidae) family and is considered one of the rarest birds on the planet. The second species of birds also belonged to the Hornbill species and were identified as the Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List as a result of extensive poaching for their solid casques.

The EPAA said it issued the smugglers violation fines and withheld their travel documents, per local and international environmental laws that prohibit the trade of endangered species.

According to the list of fines stipulated by Sharjah Executive Council Resolution No. 30 of 2014 regarding the possession of dangerous and predatory animals, the penalties for the possession of dangerous and predatory animals in houses or farms in Sharjah, regardless of their purpose, are up to AED100,000. However, the fine for transporting dangerous and predatory animals from one place to another, inside or outside Sharjah without the prior approval of EPAA, is AED10,000.