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WWF-Pakistan appreciates efforts of law enforcement agencies in foiling illegal wildlife trade

Posted on 26 December 2016

Islamabad, WWF-Pakistan appreciated efforts of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board for confiscation of 36 freshwater turtles including black-spotted and Brown-roofed turtles illegally sold in a Sunday Bazar in Islamabad. The Board officials conducted a raid on the bazar upon the request of WWF-Pakistan which has been receiving various complaints from the concerned citizens of Islamabad about the sale of these species in the Sunday Bazar.

Rab Nawaz, Senior Director Programmes, WWF-Pakistan shared that WWF-Pakistan has been observing an increase in the illegal trade of the turtles within the country due to their demand for pet trade. He also mentioned that foiling of turtle illegal sale in Islamabad uphold strict vigilance and alertness of concerned organisations and law enforcement agencies. He also mentioned a recent undercover market study of WWF-Pakistan which was conducted in 23 selected cities to Pakistan to determine scale of illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. The study discovered that all surveyed markets deal in illegal trade of wildlife including freshwater turtles.

He also pointed out the freshwater turtles are protected under the provincial wildlife protection acts despite their illegal trade continues. He highlighted that illicit wildlife trafficking is not only an environmental issue and should be treated as a crime. Lack of strict law-enforcement and awareness as well as poverty are the key drivers behind this illicit business.

He further mentioned that the like all other illegal acts the wildlife crime industry is also demand driven hence changing consumer behaviour of buyers through persuasion to compel them to make informed choices when buying wildlife-based products could be a great support to combat this illicit trade industry. He therefore urged that awareness campaigns for the general public should be initiated at a national level to highlight this issue and enhance public awareness on this matter.

Dr. Anis-ur-Rahman, Chairman of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board mentioned this seizure as a significant step towards eradicating illegal trade of wildlife at the local scale. He further added that the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board is concerned over the open sale of protected wildlife species and is committed to ensure zero tolerance against wildlife trafficking and their facilitators. He further shared that the confiscated turtles have been transferred at Marghazar Zoo for the necessary quarantine after which they will be released in a secure natural habitat. v Pakistan is a home to eight species of freshwater turtles, all of them are under serious threat of illegal wildlife trade due to which all eight species are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the relevant law enforcement agencies has developed an action plan to control illegal wildlife trade from the country. Additionally, WWF-Pakistan has trained more than 300 officials from the Pakistan Customs, provincial wildlife departments, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, Airport Security Force, Anti-narcotics Force, Marine Fisheries Department, provincial and federal police, logistic operators, etc. so far.


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