Wildlife rangers to be trained in anti-smuggling skills

The following article appeared in the newspaper Gulf News on September 16, 2011. While the wild bird trade is not specifically mentioned, officials in the Omani Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs are well aware of the problems and no doubt have ensured that the issue is included on the course.

Muscat: 16 September
Wildlife rangers to be trained in anti-smuggling skills

Poachers continue to prey on Sultanate’s diverse wildlife

Muscat: Oman has launched a programme to develop the skills of its frontline staff engaged in combating illegal trades in wild flora and fauna.

The fight against wildlife smugglers is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs which on Saturday hosted a training course for officials from a number of enforcement agencies. The training programme has been organised in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund.

Poachers supported by cross-border smuggling networks continue to prey on elements of the Sultanate’s diverse wildlife, notably its endangered Arabian Oryx, as well as Arabian Gazelles, Green Turtles, and other species. The mammals are targeted either for their meat or end up in the private zoos of wealthy farm-owners around the Arabian peninsula.

Around 60 wildlife rangers and other personnel are attending the training course which is aimed at building the capacities of national enforcement staff in meeting Oman’s obligations under the ‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna’ (Cites) which the Sultanate signed in November 2007.

Demonstrating its support for the training programme, the World Wildlife Fund’s regional direct, Dr Al Sayyid Ahmed Ahmed, is due to attend the inauguration of the event. Instructors deputed by the WWF will also conduct a series of training sessions for Omani wildlife rangers.

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