Smugglers try to bring rare crocodiles, birds into Sharjah

Environment and Protected Areas Authority catches gang as it tries to smuggle endangered animals into Sharjah
Smugglers try to bring rare crocodiles, birds into Sharjah
By Sam Bridge
Wed 21 Aug 2019 04:04 PM

Sharjah's Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) has prevented the smuggling of a number of rare birds and crocodiles in cooperation with the Sharjah Police.

Several animals included within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora, were seized when a group of Gulf nationals were caught.

The gang was attempting to smuggle nine birds from the hornbill family species, and eight Siamese crocodiles into the UAE, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

The confiscated animals are not only an endangered species but are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Class 1, it said.

Al Madam Police Station in Sharjah took all necessary measures against the smugglers and handed over the animals to the EPAA, the statement added.

The Siamese crocodile is a small to medium-sized, freshwater species distinguished by a prominent bony crest at the back of its head. It is one of the world’s rarest reptiles, listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered.

One of the birds belongs to the hornbill family and is considered one of the rarest birds on the planet. The second species of birds also belonged to the Hornbill species and were identified as the Helmeted Hornbill, listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List as a result of extensive poaching.

The EPAA said it issued fines to the smugglers and withheld their travel documents.

According to the list of fines stipulated by Sharjah Executive Council, the penalties for the possession of dangerous and predatory animals in houses or farms in Sharjah, regardless of their purpose, are up to AED100,000.

However, the fine for transporting dangerous and predatory animals from one place to another, inside or outside Sharjah without the prior approval of EPAA, is AED10,000.

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