Bahrain holds first wildlife trafficking training since joining CITES

While falconry represents Bahrain culture and heritage, all falcon species are listed in CITES appendices and the trade in wild falcons from Asia to the Middle East has threatened these populations. c.WikimediaBahrain, an archipelago of thirty-seven islands about twenty-four kilometers from the east coast of Saudi Arabia and twenty-eight kilometers from Qatar, plays an important role in international trade.

The Middle East and North Africa office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in cooperation with Bahrain Customs and its Supreme Council for the Environment just wrapped up a workshop there to combat illegal wildlife trade.

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The goals were to educate the maximum number of government officials in addition to spreading awareness the rules of Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which Bahrain joined in 2012.  We walked the participants through the most common species in trade and provided information about regulations at borders, airports, and ports as well as how to verify CITES certificates.

While falconry represents Bahrain culture and heritage, all falcon species are listed in CITES appendices and the trade in wild falcons from Asia to the Middle East has threatened these populations. Trade in exotic pets, including lion and cheetah cubs, as well as different species of parrots and tortoises, is also quite popular.

“These kinds of workshops are very important factors to guarantee the right implementation of CITES,” says Customs president Sheikh Muhammad Bin Khalifa, adding that being a member now of the convention represents the keen will of the Bahrain government to contribute to the international efforts to organize and monitor the import and export of wild fauna and flora.

The last time the Supreme Council for Environment had put on a training workshop was in June 2010.

IFAW has organized wildlife trafficking training workshops for customs departments all over the world, including those in Eastern, Central, Southern and Northern Africa, Oceania and the Caribbean. More than 1600 front-line government customs officials have been trained since 2006.

--AA

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