Customs to get training to catch animal smugglers

An agreement between Dubai Customs and the International Fund for Animal Welfare was signed yesterday.

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DUBAI // Two hundred customs inspectors will receive specialist training within the next month in how to catch smugglers of endangered animals and products made from them.

The training kick-starts a project between Dubai Customs and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).

Yesterday, Customs and Ifaw signed an agreement at Mirdif City Centre to greatly step up the training that the fund has been providing to customs inspectors.

The aim is to train all 1,700 inspectors in Dubai by 2015, including 200 of them over the coming month.

The trade in endangered wildlife and plants and products made from them is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which the UAE has signed.

Some species face extinction because of the illegal trade in specimens and goods made from skin and other body parts.

"Our plan is to train 100 per cent of our inspectors about the Cites convention, but this will be happening gradually," said Feryal Tawakul, the executive director of community affairs at Dubai Customs, who signed the agreement.

Dr Elsayed Mohamed, the programme manager at Ifaw's Dubai office, who also signed the agreement, said: "We will give information about Cites, the permits needed and legislation."