Wildlife Traffickers put on Notice as Ethiopian Crime Busters undergo Training

Monday, September 17, 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

More than 35 Ethiopian law enforcement professionals are attending a training workshop to improve their capacity and ability to more effectively fight illegal wildlife trade. The national training workshop is specially designed for officers working at the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority at Ethiopian borders and International Airports, Defence Force, Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector, INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB) Addis Ababa, Federal First Instance Court and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA)

The workshop is jointly organised by the Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA – www.ewca.gov.et) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org). The training will specifically focus on wildlife trade status by species, wildlife crime and enforcement, international trade conventions and organisations, inter-agencies cooperation and national legislations and enforcement. 

The workshop will equip the officers with knowledge and skills to detect and prevent illegal trade in wildlife. Based on interactive sessions, the trainers will give practical, hands-on skills used in the identification and proper handling of species commonly traded illegally in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa and smuggled into other continents.

While opening the five day workshop, the EWCA General Director, Ewnetu Bilata, welcomed all the officials and lauded EWCA and IFAW for organising the timely training workshop and for their commitment and effort in fighting illegal wildlife trade.  “Nowadays, the illicit trade in wildlife is a major threat to Africa. Many species are illegally poached to supply the global demand for luxury and trinkets. This alarming situation shows that all the international efforts and collaborations on preventing wild life crime should be maximised as soon as possible. Therefore, one of the best and actual methods of tackling this danger will be to give such an integrated training for officers working at the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority at Ethiopian borders and International Airports, Defence Force, Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector, INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB) Addis Ababa, Federal First Instance Court and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA).

“Moreover, the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority has a strong interest to fortify the alliance with IFAW and work jointly to alleviate the crimes exerted on the wildlife resource of the country and the continent at large”, said Ewnetu.

Speaking during the workshop opening, James Isiche, Regional Director for IFAW Eastern Africa, pointed out that, “In the last one and half years, IFAW has noted that the criminal gangs involved in wildlife trafficking have become more brazen and have started using routes such as seaports and airports in Kenya and Tanzania that were no-go zones in the past, with the contraband mainly destined for Asia.

“With the emerging trends in wildlife crime where gangs have also picked up technology such as the internet and mobile phones with utmost effectiveness and efficiency, the illegal trade in wildlife, today more than ever, poses a serious threat to the survival of many endangered species in Africa and globally. And although we should bear in mind that the financial implication of the illicit wildlife trade is estimated to run into billions of dollars, the environmental costs are profound, deadly and immeasurable,” added Isiche.

More than 1600 personnel from various parts of the world including several Ethiopian officials have undergone the IFAW trainings in the last three years.

About EWCA (Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority)

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) is established pursuant to proclamation No. 581/2007. It is a governmental organization under Ministry of Culture and Tourism, given the authority to undertake conservation and sustainable utilization of wildlife in Ethiopia. EWCA works closely with national and International stakeholders on wildlife conservation. For more information, visit our web site www.ewca.gov.et

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) saves animals in crisis around the world. With offices in 15 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and their habitats. For more information, visit our website www.ifaw.org.

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