Capacity building workshops in Morocco to combat wildlife trade

Workshop in Tanger'Born to be wild', AAP's project to save the Barbary macaque, continues! The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), in collaboration with the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) and AAP, have organized two training workshops for the customs and wildlife officials in Nador and in Tangier to combat illegal wildlife trade in the Kingdom of Morocco. The workshop in Nador was last week, the one in Tangier started today.

The main purpose of these workshops is to provide participants – customs and wildlife officials, with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent illegal wildlife trade, enhance the cooperation and communication between the sectors involved, and to effectively implement CITES regulations - with particular emphasis on the Barbary macaque. In addition, the workshops will support the implementation of the Moroccan law, regarding the protection and regulation of the trade in wild animals and plants. Apart from discussing efforts to combat the illegal trade in animals and plants at both national and international level, and the relevant treaties, practical exercises on the inspection and control of wildlife trade were conducted.

Barbary macaque and the exotic pet trade

Scouts monitoring the Barbary macaques, another part of 'Born to be wild'.
Scouts monitoring the Barbary macaques, another part of 'Born to be wild'.

The cities of Nador and Tangier were chosen to host these workshops in participation with the customs, wildlife and forestry agents, and the National Health Safety Bureau and the Royal Gendarmerie, for their geographic location. They are the key border points to Europe, which is considered a destination of major interest in selling smuggled animals and plants. This includes the Barbary macaque, an endangered primate whose numbers were significantly reduced over recent years due to targeting of the young monkeys for the exotic pet trade to European countries, and habitat fragmentation due to climate change and the growing human footprint.

The workshops are part of 'Born to be wild', a project ensuring the sustainable protection of the endangered Barbary macaque. The project is initiated and funded by AAP and executed together with IFAW. In Morocco, the workshops are conducted in cooperation with HCEFLCD.