Born to be Wild - MoroccoSaving Barbary macaques in one of their last remaining habitats
During the first week of September, the customs officers stopped a passenger in Tangier after finding four hundred Greek tortoises in his vehicle, which he planned to transport to Europe for trade. The officers from the High Commission of Water, Forests and fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) officers seized the tortoises and released them back in the wild where they belong.
This is not the first time we hear about a big seizure of Greek tortoises in Tangier, two months ago in June, 120 Greek tortoises were also seized and transported to the Rabat Zoo to be later released back in the wild. According to the Moroccan National law No.29.05 which refers to the CITES (Appendix II), the Greek tortoise is an endangered animal, and the passenger is to be fined an amount equaling to around 2000 Euros per tortoise. Furthermore, the authorities concerned will impound the vehicle used by the passenger due to its use in illegal activity.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been working closely with HCEFLCD in Morocco and has been conducting trainings for the customs and police officers on ways to combat wildlife trafficking and strengthen their ability to identify the species that are illegal in trade. Ifaw considers such seizure operations as success stories, as they reflect the implementation of lessons learned combined with the hard work of the officers concerned in the process. Dr. Elsayed Mohamed, the Regional Director at IFAW responded to the news, “IFAW congratulates the efforts done to carry out this seizure and I would like to emphasize on the importance of communication between the partners involved on a national level to safely carry out and complete such operations”. He continued, “It is necessary to report such cases to the “destination” countries as well, to further secure the borders and take the precautions needed”.
IFAW is currently working with HCEFLCD on the Born to be Wild project, a project that is initiated and funded by AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection to ensure the sustainable protection of the Barbary macaques in Morocco.
For more info, contact Kinda Jabi at firstname.lastname@example.org
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