PR No. 140 Islamabad: September 21, 2016
Pakistan in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Ministry of Climate Change organised a training workshop for, aiming to train the representatives of law-enforcement agencies based at the at Benazir Bhutto International Airport to combat the illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. This event was organised with the financial support of USAID through its Small Grants Ambassador Fund Program. Participants of the event included law-enforcers from the Antinarcotics Forces, Airport Security Forces, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Customs officials as well as airline and cargo.
The workshop facilitators included experts from the Ministry of Climate Change and WWF-Pakistan. The training experts shed a light on various aspects of illegal wildlife trade, its scale and different forms in which this trade occurs globally. The participants also received hands-on training on the basic skills to rescue and handling of confiscated wildlife including raptors, Indian pangolins, leopards, etc. The training also familiarized the participants with the species that are in high trade demand, the modes in which they are traded and identification of the species in trade demand from Pakistan. Experts also shared international regulations as well as national and provincial laws governing wildlife trade such as CITES and Pakistan Wild Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act, 2012, etc. with the participants. The participants in various group discussions also brought forward key field challenges they face and frequently encountered modes of wildlife trafficking. Given that technology has a prime role to control the wildlife crimes, experts also introduced the participants with the available gadgets such as the mobile phone applications available free of cost which are very helpful for the law-enforcement agencies to identify engendered and CITES listed species. The participants also learned to identify the basic techniques to identify sharks using the shapes and structure of their fins in another hands-on session.
Syed Mehmood Nasir , Inspector General of Forests was the chief guest of the concluding session of the workshop. Mr. Nasir in his remarks, while appreciating the efforts of WWF-Pakistan, highlighted that such capacity building events bring an excellent learning opportunity to the departments such as Pakistan Customs which are responsible to control illegal trade at our borders. He also acknowledged that enhanced capacity of Pakistan Customs officials on various aspects of illegal wildlife trade would be an important step to ensure improved surveillance over wildlife traffickers. Amanullah Alvi, Airport Manager at Banazir Bhutto International Airport, acknowledged the fact that such events provide an excellent platform to the relevant departments together to explore synergies and gap areas for further improvement. Rab Nawaz, Senior Director, WWF-Pakistan in the concluding remarks acknowledged the WWF-Pakistan with the financial support of USAID through its Small Grants and Ambassador Fund Programme, has set a perfect ground for the relevant law-enforcement agencies to continue to collaborate in future which is critical to win against the wildlife crimes. He also tanked all the facilitator and particularly appreciated the support of Civil Aviation Authority to help tp organise this event.
This workshop was the last of the consultative and training series, which are conducted as part of the Project Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade by Establishing a National Monitoring Network that Benefits Local Communities and Environment supported by the USAID through its Small Grants Ambassador Fund Program to develop a national level strategy against the illegal wildlife trade and building capacity of the relevant law-enforcement agencies to curb wildlife crimes in Pakistan.