The Inter-departmental Task Force on Wildlife Crime comprising representatives of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), the Environment Bureau, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Customs and Excise Department held its first meeting today (August 25).
An AFCD spokesman said, “The Task Force has replaced the Endangered Species Protection Liaison Group. Its extended mandate covers local wildlife of conservation concern in addition to species listed in the appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The Task Force develops strategies on intelligence collection and analysis, and enforcement operations. It also plans for and co-ordinates large-scale joint operations against the illegal import, export, trade and capture of animals as well as the collection of plants from the wild. In addition, it co-ordinates liaison with other national and international agencies, and draws up major publicity on combating wildlife crime.
At today’s meeting, members of the Task Force discussed the situation of species subject to great concern, including the elephant, rhino, Totoaba macdonaldi, humphead wrasse, pangolin, seahorse, European eel and incense trees. They also met with wildlife conservation groups and exchanged views with them on matters of mutual concern.