Main building of Dubai Customs Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai Customs today revealed that over the past three years it had seized nearly 330 tonnes and more than 200 samples of animal and plant species that violate the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which the United Arab Emirates joined in 1990.

One notable achievement, Dubai Customs said, in combating CITES violations was the interception of an attempt to smuggle 64 live falcons through the Hatta border crossing. This incident violated the laws of the UAE, including the law on regulating and monitoring the international trade of endangered animals and plants, as well as the veterinary quarantine law. The confiscated shipment did not possess any official documents or health certificates, contravening Federal Law No. 11 of 2002 concerning CITES.

Series of initiatives

Dubai Customs, particularly through its Customs Inspection sector, plays a vital role in combating attempts to smuggle prohibited materials. It conducts extensive public awareness campaigns on the importance of protecting endangered animals and plants. This includes organising exhibitions showcasing confiscated items. This supports the Green Customs initiative announced by Dubai Customs earlier this year, which represents a model for international collaboration to prevent illegal trade in environmentally harmful substances.

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Smart inspections

As part of enhancing international cooperation in regulating and implementing CITES, the Customs Inspection Division at Dubai Customs is working on elevating the efficiency of inspectors through qualification and training programmes on various smuggling techniques. Additionally, lists of endangered animal species are being disseminated to identify and utilise them in seizure operations. Dubai Customs said it continuously develops and employs the latest smart applications to facilitate inspection processes at customs ports in the emirate. This includes the advanced container inspection system and the Risk Engine system developed by the department to proactively monitor the risks of commercial shipments.