Ministry of Environment: Online trade of endangered species is illegal and can invoke penalties
Abu Dhabi: Saif Mohammad Al Shar’a, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water’s External Audit Section, has said that online trade of animals and plants listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) through social networking platforms and websites is illegal.
He said that it is a violation of Federal Law No 11 of 2002, regulating and controlling the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In addition, the practice affects the classification of the UAE in the list of countries committed to Cites, which the UAE joined in 1989 through Decree No 86.
Al Shar’a said that the UAE has made great strides in the field of environmental protection and the preservation of endangered wild fauna and flora. This is demonstrated through numerous welfare programmes for the propagation of endangered species, including the Shaikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre and the efforts of local authorities to increase the area of natural reserves. The goal is to provide a sustainable habitat for the rehabilitation of organisms that are exposed to natural or human threats and are at risk of extinction in the future.
He said that the public should take note of and support these efforts, as the animals require great care, both in terms of providing a good environment and appropriate nutritional needs.
Al Shar’a added that in many cases, taking care of dangerous animals is very expensive, involving inexperienced people can put their lives and the lives of members of the community in danger. When these animals are released in the wild, they threaten people nearby.
The undersecretary emphasised that the ministry is working on following up on what is published on social media platforms and websites as well as keeping track of the display of endangered and dangerous animals for sale.
He said that the ministry will transfer the cases of all offenders to the competent authorities to take the necessary legal procedures to maintain the UAE’s achievements in its ongoing efforts to protect the environment as part of its global system.
Regarding penalties for violators, Al Shar’a said that any violation of the terms and provisions of the Federal Law on the regulation and control of trade of endangered animals will hold the perpetrators legally accountable.
“Some penalties may result in a prison sentence and the incurring of fines, in addition to confiscation and other expenses,” Al Shar’a said. He also warned of serious procedures and penalties for violators of animal rights such as animal cruelty.