Dubai: A farm manager was fined Dh10,000 on Monday for trading in endangered animals and plants illegally and abusing animals by failing to care for them and selling malnourished animals.

The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the Dutch manager of importing endangered species, animals and plants, and selling them in the market without being licensed to do so. He was also found guilty of failing to provide proper care which led to the animals being malnourished.

In a ruling that is believed to be uncommon, the court also decided that the endangered species be impounded.

According to Monday’s judgement, the Dutchman violated the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) agreement and sold endangered species at a farm in Al Warsan area.

Cites is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

When asked whether according to the primary judgement the endangered species would be physically impounded, the accused’s lawyer, Saeed Al Ghailani, told Gulf News: “I do not know what exactly that means. Will the endangered animals and plants be impounded? I cannot confirm. We have to clarify that with the court. However we would appeal the judgement soon.”

Court records said an Emirati law enforcement officer at the Ministry of Environment and Water told Dubai Police that the Dutchman had violated the Cites agreement and sold endangered species.

The officer claimed that when he inspected the farm he discovered that the defendant imported, housed and sold thousands of endangered animals and plants without obtaining a proper licence.

The farm manager pleaded not guilty and denied the accusations.

His lawyer argued before the court that the Emirati witness is not a law enforcement officer and was not permitted to inspect his client’s farm.

“He violated the law when he played the role of a law enforcement officer. The man is an engineer at the ministry and didn’t have the permission for an inspection… the procedures were carried out unlawfully,” said Al Ghailani.

Prosecutors charged the Dutchman with violating Federal Law No 11 of 2002 regarding the regulation of international trade of endangered species of animals and plants and Federal Law No 16 of 2007 regarding animal welfare.

“He sold animals for a price cheaper than the market price. While inspecting the farm, I saw endangered species that were prohibited from being sold as per Cites. He imported those species illegally. There was improper care and tens of the animals were left neglected. I found dead animals and also sick animals that were left without proper medical care. Some malnourished animals preyed on corpses of animals to survive.

“I found rare palm trees that were banned according to Cites… but the suspect had grown them in an illegal manner,” claimed the officer.

The Dutchman claimed that the farm was permitted to sell animals and plants.

“We obtained a primary licence from the Dubai Economic Department to sell animals and plants in the farm, but we did not obtain the final approval. We have different species of animals such as rabbits, chicken, parrots, pigeons, sheep, peacocks, tortoises, dogs, squirrels, macaws and others. We have thousands of animals but five to ten per cent of them are listed under the protection of Cites agreements but they are not considered endangered species.

“We also have 35 specimens of nearly 50,000 plants… but we don’t have endangered plants. Many of the animals were imported from Holland on permission from the concerned authorities but I didn’t know that a permit was required to keep those animals in the farm,” claimed the defendant.