Spotlight Jordan: two lion cubs and 886 tortoises seized

The two lions were confiscated by Jordan’s Environmental Police Department. Credit: Princess Alia FoundationThe growing regional demand for having wild and exotic animals as pets fuels illegal wildlife trade in the Middle East. 886 tortoises and two lion cubs seized in Jordan …. And that’s just in the last three months!

Just last May, the Jordanian customs officers seized 536 spur-thighed tortoises from a traveler. The man was intending to smuggle them to Saudi Arabia through Jordanian-Saudi land borders.

Another social network incident but this time a new born lion cub was on the spot. On July 2012, a man tried to sell the lion cub on Facebook page. The Jordanian’s Environmental Police hired buyer, who was actually undercover officer, used as bait in order to gain more information and catch the seller.

After price negotiations the seller agreed on US$3000 and instead of closing the deal with the money, the man has unexpected and unplanned for his illegal online adventure. He was arrested and the lion cub was saved from what can be called unknown future.

Jordan’s Environmental Police Department has seized 886 tortoises since May 2012. Credit: Princess Alia FoundationMost recently, in August 2012, another man caught trying to smuggle 350 Greek tortoises and almost two months lion cub from Syria to Jordan. The lion cub was stolen from a local zoo in Syria by the help of a zoo keeper. The Syrian man fined US$ 35,000 and deported back to his home country.

All the confiscated lion cubs and tortoises delivered to Princess Alia Foundation. Tortoises released back to the wild and the two lion cubs remained in rehabilitation center under the supervision of wildlife specialist.

IFAW office in Dubai works with Princess Alia Foundation on preventing wildlife trafficking and educating students about wildlife should be kept in the wild.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
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