Jordanian custom officials seize two tiger cubs at the Al-Omari entry point
Customs officials in Jordan working in a deep desert entry land point were shocked last week after finding two tiger cubs being smuggled into the country by a Taxi.
Two men were attempting to smuggle two live tiger cubs from Saudi Arabia to Jordan through the Al-Omari entry point. The customs officials intercepted the two men who hid the two cubs in their car in pet boxes. They did not declare the presence of the tigers in order to avoid legal prosecution.
This incidence happened in the Al-Omari check point between Jordan and Saudi Arabia on the Jordanian side. The Al-Omari check point is located in the desert 400 KM from Amman, the capital of Jordan. I can say that this was a selective try from the smuggler to test the capacity of the customs officers who are working hundreds of kilometers away from their headquarters in the desert where the temperature may exceed 40 °C(104 F).
Thus, it was one of the International Fund for Animal Welfare Dubai office’s first priorities to focus the capacity building on those officials who are far away from their capital, suffering from lack of information about the wildlife trade.
Jordanian custom officials delivered the two six-week old cubs (male and female) to the Princess Alia Foundation for first aid and to be cared for. The cubs were in miserable condition, dehydrated from the high temperature, suffering from improper handling and transportation in very small pet boxes.
It was so easy to see the suffering and fright in their eyes.
The two suspected men were arrested and are currently facing legal actions.
They were fined US$ 22,000 and will go on trial accused of CITES laws violation and attempting to smuggle.
IFAW has worked in the last five years with strategic partners in Jordan, the Royal Society for conservation of nature, and Princess Alia foundation, to combat wildlife trafficking by building the capacity of Jordan customs officials.
Al-Omari custom officers were trained by IFAW through one of these capacity building workshops two years ago.