Mandalay airport joins war on wildlife trade

In an effort to crack down on illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife, staff at Mandalay International Airport attended a course in how to identify and classify wildlife parts if carried by passengers.

Over 100 airport staff, security personnel and customs officials received training provided by the Forestry Department and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Myanmar, U Aung Kyaw of WCS said.

With Myanmar getting international attention for investment and business, staff at airports in large cities such as Mandalay and Yangon, which are the main gateways to foreign countries, should be provided with more knowledge about wildlife and its illegal trade.

“Experts with international experience train them to identify the species, observe how they are transported and if they have the required documents,” said U Aung Kyaw.

For the country’s three international airports, in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, this training was the first of its kind, which was conducted last week.

For domestic Myanmar airports, government and conservation groups will cooperate to provide similar trainings.

“We receive recommendations such as providing such training for domestic airports besides international ones. After negotiations with relevant government departments, training will start,” said U Aung Kyaw.

Currently, transportation of illegal wildlife are usually done by land routes to China and Thailand, he said.

“Pangolin is the most illegally traded animal. But here, it is smuggled into China via the Mandalay-Lashio-Muse route and also through the Taunggyi-Kyaingtone-Milar route. For Thailand, trafficking goes through Myawaddy-Mesauk-Phayathonesu,” said U Aung Kyaw.

Source: Myanmar Times

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