Egypt tightens regulations on endangered animals

It’s a start but does not go far enough to protect all animals in Egypt from cruelty, torture and killing. Before you read the story below – take a minute to sign an online petition asking Egypt to make it illegal to harm any animal.

You can find it here: We need a real law to protect animals in Egypt

Now read on….

The Egyptian government and animal welfare organisations have introduced measures to protect rare and endangered animals from environmental threats and illegal trade.

These include efforts to secure their habitat and tighten controls on their trade.

“The basic task of animal rights activists in Egypt is to preserve our natural heritage, through locating and reporting of rare animals that are kept illegally at homes, tourist areas or private businesses,” said veterinarian, environmentalist and animal rights activist Sherine Ahmed.

Rare animals are often discovered when they are offered for sale at markets, she told Al-Shorfa.

Environmental and animal welfare activists are now focused on preventing rare animals from being kept in cages or used for entertainment, she said.

As a first step, she said, the government has agreed to establish a 50-acre zoo in a forest resembling a nature reserve in Giza to serve as a “natural environment suitable for animals”.

Humane societies also are raising awareness among school students and visitors to parks and zoos about the need to care for and protect rare animals, Ahmed said.

Due to its large geographical area, Egypt has the biological and climate diversity to ensure the survival of most of its rare animals through natural reproduction, said Fahim al-Osta of the Ministry of Environment.

Egypt had previously allocated 8% of its land for 21 land and sea nature reserves, but is now increasing that share to 18% of its total area, he told Al-Shorfa.

Rare animals are categorised as native, endangered or extinct, al-Osta said.

The rare animals in Egypt that are being protected in natural reserves include wolves, Nubian ibexes, wild rabbits, jerboas, gazelles, foxes, hyenas, wild cats and others, he said. There also are several types of reptiles, in addition to bird species such as the bittern, the Egyptian goose, the hoopoe and the Merops bee-eater.

“The threat to most species was due to environmental changes, coupled with the population explosion and the accompanying destruction of the environment and its resources, in addition to logging and illegal hunting,” he said.

Tightening controls on animals

The best measures to protect rare animals would be to strengthen veterinary medicine centres across Egypt, tighten controls on marketplaces and on ads that promote the sale of rare animals, and establish points at border crossings to regulate animals being shipped overseas, al-Osta said.

In June, Cairo airport authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle four lion cubs that had been crated with cats and dogs destined for Saudi Arabia. The cubs were placed in the zoo.

Monitoring the sale and trading of animals is part of an effort that includes the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, the environmental police, the Central Zoos Authority and the General Authority for Veterinary Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, said Mazen Abdeen, a veterinarian at the General Authority for Veterinary Services.

“Their task is to implement the international CITES agreement, which aims to prevent the trade in endangered animals by setting up patrols in all Egyptian governorates,” he said. “They also receive alerts from citizens, and animal rights and environmental activists.”

Last year, 6,530 alerts were handled, Abdeen said, with the majority of surveillance and patrols focusing on popular markets and shops that sell animals.

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