(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Authorities recently seized three globally endangered African monkeys from a shop in Aqaba, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) said on Wednesday.
Inspectors from the Rangers, the Jordan Customs Department and the RSCN found the monkeys in a shop whose owner was displaying them for sale, according to Omar Shoshan, RSCN spokesperson and head of its environmental policies and advocacy department.
"According to Aqaba residents, monkeys and other animals are usually smuggled into the country with imported goods on board ships coming from Asian countries, such as India," Shoshan told The Jordan Times.
The confiscated African monkeys are globally threatened with extinction due to illegal trade, he noted.
"Hunters and traders seek the animal, which is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), either for making souvenirs, drug experiments, training for circuses, or for food in some African countries," Shoshan underscored.
CITES is an international agreement between governments, to which Jordan became signatory in 1978. It aims at ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, according to its website.
"The RSCN handed over the African monkeys to a local animal welfare foundation, which rehabilitates smuggled animals and sends them back to their homelands in coordination with animal welfare societies worldwide," Shoshan highlighted.
The Rangers and the RSCN inspectors also confiscated a bird of prey from a pet shop in downtown Amman.
"Inspectors confiscated a common buzzard, which is a migrant bird of prey" it will be released soon in one of the country's nature reserves," Shoshan noted.
The African monkeys and the common buzzard were seized as part of an ongoing campaign to combat the illicit trade in wildlife. Under the campaign, scores of wild animals and birds, including some endangered species, were rescued from the black market in June.
The animals included an African lion cub, wild monkeys, eagles, falcons, storks, wild squirrels and a hyena.
Confiscation of the animals and birds is in enforcement of both Agriculture Law number 44 of the year 2002 and CITES, according to the RSCN.