Monday, May 10, 2010

Major monkey trafficking bid foiled by UAE Customs

The Gulf Today, 25 April 2010

An attempt to smuggle 42 baboons, a rare and endangered monkey species, into the UAE from Saudi Arabia through a Western region border of the country has been foiled by customs officials.
A senior official at the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) said that the baboons scientifically named Papio hamadryas were found being transported without sufficient documents including health certificates and trade permits, violating the animal welfare law of the UAE.
The major animal trafficking bid through the Al Ghuwaifath border in Abu Dhabi was thwarted jointly by officers at the Abu Dhabi Customs Department and inspectors of the environment ministry, revealed Sultan Ahmed Alwan, Executive Director for Agricultural and Animal Affairs at the MOEW on Saturday.
"The veterinary inspectors at environment ministry have confiscated the monkeys and kept them at the veterinary quarantine centre of the MOEW. The inspectors also conducted all the necessary examinations on the animals in order to ensure that they are free contagious diseases," Alwan explained.
According to him, the smugglers violated the regulations on veterinary quarantine while the animals were being shipped to the UAE.
The baboons are endemic to the Asir Mountains between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
“The smuggling of the rare species is a serious violation of international laws on the transportation of endangered animal and plants. The import of all monkeys is currently banned in the UAE, aimed at ensuring the bio-security. The only exceptions being for regulated scientific or breeding centres," he pointed out.
He noted that the ban of monkey import to the UAE also aims to protect the public from the spread of various diseases or epidemics including tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes and Ebola and Aids. Domesticated monkeys can carry intestinal diseases and cause injuries or overpower their owners.
The confiscated baboons are under examination for diseases especially common among humans and animals, he said.
"The UAE issued a federal law in 2002, concerning the regulations to control the international trafficking of animals and plants that are in the class of endangered species," he added.

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