Dubai Customs seizes nearly 330 tonnes of banned animal and plant species

Officers also confiscated more than 200 samples

More than 30 tonnes of red sandalwood – also known as red sanders – was seized in 2020. EPA
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Dubai Customs has seized nearly 330 tonnes and more than 200 samples of animal and plant species smuggled into the Emirates over the past three years.

The goods that were being imported violate the International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which the UAE has been part of since 1990.

Dubai Customs said it was fully committed to combating smugglers and highlighted the importance of protecting endangered animals and plants.

It has carried out numerous successful anti-smuggling campaigns to help safeguard the environment.

In September 2021, officers thwarted an attempt to transport dozens of falcons, hidden in the back of a lorry, across the Hatta border.

Dubai customs seized the 64 falcons that were being brought into the country from Oman without the correct health documents as required by law, said officials.

Falcons are an integral part of UAE heritage, featuring on the national emblem, and can sell for a high price.

The birds were discovered concealed behind boxes of vegetables when the vehicle was stopped and inspected by border officials.

In 2020, more than 30 tonnes of red sandalwood – also known as red sanders – was found hidden inside a commercial shipping container.

India strictly controls the export of the tree, which is coveted for its rich red wood used for making furniture and musical instruments.

Officers take part in regular training to ensure they can identify the latest sophisticated attempts by criminals to evade detection.

A new cargo system was recently launched with the aim of bolstering security measures.

The early cargo targeting system tracks incoming shipments and detects illegal shipments and materials, reducing the need for physical inspections.

Dubai Customs thwart smugglers in 2022 – in pictures

Updated: July 10, 2023, 9:12 AM