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Farm manager accused of selling endangered species of animals and plants.

Dubai: A farm manager has been accused of illegally trading in endangered animals and plants and abusing animals by failing to care for them and selling them while they were sick.

Prosecutors accused the 33-year-old Dutch manager of importing endangered species, animals and plants, and selling them in the market without being licensed to do so.

He was additionally charged with failing to provide proper care which led to the animals being malnourished.

An Emirati law enforcement officer at the Ministry of Environment and Water told Dubai Police that the Dutchman had violated the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) agreement and was selling endangered species at a farm in the Warsan area.

Cites is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

During prosecution questioning, the officer claimed that when he inspected the farm he discovered that the suspect had imported, housed and sold thousands of endangered animals and plants without obtaining a proper licence.

When the defendant appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanour Court on Monday, he pleaded not guilty and denied the accusations.

Meanwhile his lawyer Saeed Al Gailani asked Presiding Judge Hamdi Mustafa Abu Al Khair to adjourn the case until he prepared his defence.

Prosecutors charged the Dutchman with violating Federal Law no 11 of 2002 regarding the regulation of international trade of endangered species of animals and plants and Federal Law no 16 of 2007 regarding animal welfare.

"He sold animals without a licence and for a price cheaper than that of the market. While inspecting the farm, I was shocked to see endangered species that were prohibited from being sold as per Cites. He imported those species without obtaining the Ministry's permission. There was improper care and tens of the animals were left malnourished or neglected. I found dead animals and also sick animals that were left without proper medical care. Some malnourished animals preyed on corpses of animals to survive.

Rare palm trees

"I found rare palm trees that were banned according to CitesEoACA* but the suspect had grown them in an illegal manner. An unlicensed female veterinarian worked in the farm as well," the Ministry's officer told prosecutors.

The Dutchman claimed told prosecutors the farm was permitted to sell animals and plants.

"We obtained a primary licence from the Dubai Economic Department to sell animals and plants in the farm, but we did not obtain the final approval. We have different species of animals such as rabbits, chicken, parrots, pigeons, sheep, peacocks, tortoises, dogs, squirrels, macaws and others. We have thousands of animals but five to ten per cent of them are listed under the protection of Cites agreements but they are not considered endangered species.

"We also have 35 specimens of nearly 50,000 plantsEoACA* but we don't have endangered plants. Many of the animals were imported from Holland upon permission from the concerned authorities but I didn't know that a permit was required to keep those animals in the farm," claimed the suspect.

According to court records, some of the endangered species were the Yellow-crowned Amazon, the Green-winged Macaw, the black-and-white ruffed lemur, the Sarus Crane, Red-breasted Parakeet, the Toco Toucan, the Safforn Toucanet, the Serval Cat, and the red-footed tortoise.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 30, 2012
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