By Raji Unnikrishnan
Authorities have pledged to crack down on illegal trading of endangered animals and exotic birds in Bahrain.
The Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) is drafting a mechanism to curb the smuggling of protected species into Bahrain and openly trading them in local markets.
'The SCE '“ in co-operation with the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry and Interior Ministry '“ is drafting a mechanism to prevent illegal trade and poaching of wild endangered species,' a spokesman told the GDN.
'We are aware of the illegal trading of protected, wild and sea animals and exotic birds in the country. We are also aware of some private farms and zoos that have such animals.'
Roughly 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international agreement between governments, including Bahrain.
Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
The GDN earlier reported that the Environment Friends Society (EFS) registered as many as 30 cases of protected species being smuggled into Bahrain.
'Legally, it is prohibited to retain all the above mentioned animals in private zoos, farms or homes without any permit from municipality and the SCE,' added the spokesman.
'It is important to inform the municipality and the SCE of any violation in order to conduct more investigations and take actions.
'There is frequent monitoring by Al Areen inspectors on the market for any trade in wild protected species and in some cases they get support from police in confiscation.'
He also suggested that schools across the country should include protection of endangered species in their curriculum to stop children from abusing exotic animals.
To report any violations, call the SCE hotline 80001112.