Belgium is world centre for the smuggling of protected animals and plantsThursday, 08 November 2018 08:47
Among the contraband passing through Belgium is crocodile meat from Zimbabwe (photo) and other reptilian animals and products, as well as sawn African teak and the bark of the African cherry tree, used for medicinal purposes.
The products concerned are included on the international CITES list – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which includes animals and plants. It’s aim is to protect biodiversity by making it illegal to trade in species whose very existence may be under threat.
The trade in illegal species has turned out to be one of the most lucrative cross-border crimes in the world, together with trade in arms, drugs and counterfeit goods. And yet little is done to enforce the CITES convention. The WWF report not only maps the situation, but also presents governments with a plan of action to tackle the problem, and a call for them to implement it.
“Trade in these wild species requires an interministerial and intersectoral approach,” the WWF says in its report. “As well as the federal and regional responsibilities on the environment and on public health, the main work is the responsibility of the customs, police and judicial authorities.”
The Brussels Times
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