IFAW unveils key partnership with Morocco to tackle illegal wildlife trade
AL RABAT, Morocco, Aug. 25, 2017 : With illegal wildlife trade being one of the most serious threats to biodiversity, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Moroccan government's High Commission for Water, Forests, and Combating Desertification (HCEFLCD) are announcing a partnership to strengthen the protection of wildlife and habitats.Home of many remarkable species including the notable endangered Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus), Morocco is stepping up its efforts to protect its stunning natural habitats and rich wildlife diversity, in a context where wildlife crime often has a striking impact upon natural resources, cultural heritage and even security in many countries and regions of the world.
Today's agreement between IFAW and the HCEFLCD is an opportunity that will allow new initiatives to strengthen the fight against poaching, dismantle wildlife trafficking routes and enhance the rescue and rehabilitation of wild confiscated animals, notably under the framework of the Born to be Wild project, which is currently under discussion between the two parties.
In presence of the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification Dr. Abdeladim Lhafi, IFAW President and CEO Azzedine Downes, warmly welcomed a collaboration of significant importance: "We have long recognized the complexities of wildlife trade and in response have worked hard to nurture and support inter-agency cooperation as a way to address them. We are therefore pleased to be working closely with the Moroccan government to implement creative activities that would facilitate the coexistence and harmony between local communities and wildlife."
Dr. Abdeladim stressed the importance of this agreement: "This agreement comes in support of the National Strategy for the Protection of Nature and more specifically of endangered species of fauna and flora. This strategy began in the 1990s through the establishment of several nature reserves, the rehabilitation of endangered species as well as the strengthening of national legislation.
IFAW-MENA Regional Director Dr. Elsayed noted the cooperation between IFAW and the High Commission for Water, Forests and Combating Desertification is critical in preventing wildlife trafficking: "We intend to closely coordinate our efforts with the High Commission with the aim to disrupt and dismantle wildlife trafficking routes. Increasing the flow of information shared at international level concerning wildlife crime and confiscations that may have occurred in Europe, as well as strengthening the capacity for law enforcement officers to intervene should be amongst our very priorities".
Educating and sensitizing about animal welfare and conservation are also at the core of this important partnership and will enable future generations to integrate the fact that each individual of an endangered species matters for its population.