LAHORE: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan and Pakistan Customs signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday to curb illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan.
The collaboration would contribute towards enhancing capacities of the Pakistan Customs and other agencies concerned to help them understand the key aspects of illegal wildlife trade in order to enhance vigilance against wildlife trafficking.
Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) International Customs Chief Syed Asad Raza Rizvi informed that the illegal trade in wildlife was a new area of concern for all Customs administrations globally. Insufficient specialised training and equipment for enforcement agencies and lack of public awareness had been instrumental in the growth of this phenomenon as part of the transnational organised crime.
He termed it as the new frontier for the Customs administrations. Rizvi informed that the Pakistan Customs had always been at the forefront of apprehending wildlife traffickers, whether they were involved in smuggling of freshwater turtles, falcons or pangolin at national entry and exit points.
He termed the collaboration with WWF-Pakistan an important milestone towards further strengthening existing efforts and enhancing vigilance against wildlife traffickers.
WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said that illegal wildlife trade was globally recognised as the second largest threat to wildlife after habitat destruction.
According to him, the partnership with the Pakistan Customs and FBR would provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade and other environmental issues.
The chief guest on the occasion, Lahore (Central Region) Chief Collector Zeba Hai Azhar, in her closing remarks, appreciated the signing of the MoU and expressed hope that it would start a new chapter of cooperation between the two organisations.