Confiscated ivory products displayed at airport (Dubai)


By Derek Baldwin, Gulf News

Date Published
Dubai: The UAE’s continuing efforts to fight the decimation of elephants by poachers across Africa is seeing results, the Ministry of Environment and Water said.

Ministry officials said on Sunday that its latest campaign to educate travellers at Abu Dhabi International Airport is being well received by the public. The ‘Illegal Trading of Ivory’ campaign is working with Customs officials in the UAE and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to raise the alarm about increased illegal trade of ivory culled from the increased slaughter of wild elephants in Africa.

The campaign runs until August 13 in concert with World Elephant Day on August 12.

The UAE seized more than 474 pieces of ivory between 2012 and 2013. In April this year, the ministry destroyed more than 10 tonnes of raw and wrought ivory confiscated over the years as part of the UAE’s efforts to combat the illicit trade in endangered wildlife species.

In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said the campaign “is drawing strong participation from the audience members. The campaign was organised in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Customs and Abu Dhabi Airports, as well as the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The programme tackles the issue of illegal elephant ivory trade.”

The ministry said it is showcasing at the airport displays of previously confiscated elephant ivory “in order to enlighten travellers about the importance of wildlife as well as the threats the elephant species are being exposed to. Informative reading material was also prepared by the ministry in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare which was distributed to the audience members during the programme”.

Engineer Aisha Al Abdouli, Director of Awareness and Education Department, said in keeping with the UAE’s green policy, the illegal elephant ivory trade campaign was organised to address the increasing incidents of illegal trade in live animals, ivory, leather products, and sandalwood, among other crucial natural resources. The campaign was developed to ensure that UAE will meet its objectives of establishing biosecurity and environmental safety within the country in accordance with established international treaties.

In February 2014, the UAE joined 45 other countries in signing the London Declaration to eliminate illegal trade of wildlife. The resolution focuses on obligations and measures required to put an end to the illegal trade of wild animals, including rhinoceros, tigers and elephants. The value of these illicit activities exceed $19 billion annually.

The London Declaration seeks to end demand for wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement and develop sustainable livelihoods for affected communities.