Smuggling of Crocodile skins intercepted

27-02-2018 12:33 PM

Lillian Nabil

In cooperation with the Environment Police, the Nature Preservation sector of the Ministry of Environment stopped the smuggling of 10 crocodile skins and three skins of other wild animals, of lengths varying from two to four metres each. The smuggled goods were found in a private fishing boat in Lake Nasser, and the culprits were caught.

The Aswan Nature Reserve sector had earlier been notified that Lake Nasser was being used for hunting crocodiles for commercial purposes.

Both the Egyptian Environment Law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) of which Egypt is signatory prohibit the hunting of crocodiles for the sake of trading. The Nile crocodile was listed in Appendix I of the convention, which means that it was listed as ‘under higher risk of extinction’, thus its hunting and trade was completely banned. But in 2008, the Nile crocodile was moved to Appendix II–lower risk of extinction–which meant that crocodile ranches may be set up to take hatchlings from wildlife and raise them in a special environment for commercial purposes. But the trade of crocodiles raised in the wild remain prohibited by CITES and the Environment Law.

It is very difficult to determine an estimate of the number of crocodiles living in Lake Nasser, CITES says. The Nile crocodile, however, remains one of the popular tourist attractions of Lake Nasser.

The Nile Crocodile appeared in Egypt in prehistoric times and was very common during the dynasties of ancient Egypt. The species formerly inhabited the Nile from Upper Egypt to the Delta and the Mediterranean coast, but, having been hunted throughout history, was finally eradicated from Lower Egypt after the building of the Aswan Dam. They can now be found only in and south of Lake Nasser, where they can grow to enormous size.

Watani International

27 February 2018

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