Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Customs gets wildlife tool kit

Published:Saturday | March 5, 2016 | 3:00 AM

The Jamaica Customs Agency is now better equipped to prevent the illegal trafficking of wildlife. This, as the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in collaboration with the Scientific Authority of Jamaica, (on Thursday), handed over an electronic toolkit to the Jamaica Customs Agency.

The toolkit contains information on local laws and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese said that the new resource would act as a guide to the agency's officers who are often on the front line in the fight against illegal trade in endemic and endangered animals and plants.

"When poachers trade endangered animals and plants, the point of entry or exit is usually from one of the island's ports. This toolkit provides customs officers with a comprehensive refresher course on the detection of infractions, and the requirements of the proper reporting procedures," said Reese.

The toolkit handover took place as part of NEPA's activities to celebrate World Wildlife Day. This year's theme for the internationally recognised calendar day is 'The Future of Wildlife is in Our Hands'.

Peter Knight, chief executive officer at NEPA, said that the agency had in recent years dealt with many reports of illegally traded endemic animals and plants, particularly the island's birds.

Knight further stated that in addition to sensitising customs officers, the agency would be heightening its public awareness and education campaign regarding environmental laws and would continue with thrust to enforce these laws.