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January 21, 2011

HSI Brings Wildlife Handling Workshops to Guatemala

Humane Society International

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Jan. 21, 2011) — Humane Society International—in conjunction with the U.S Department of State, Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, Guatemala’s environmental department, and the CITES Management Authority—will conduct two day-long workshops on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and neo-tropical animal handling, Jan. 25 and 27.

The two workshops, which will take place in Guatemala City and Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, will feature HSI’s newly developed Spanish animal handling curriculum. Training will be given to police, customs, and governmental ministries in the confiscation and handling of illegally traded wildlife, and will feature a "Training of the Trainers" session. This session will maximize the impact of the course, enabling participants to apply the new training themselves to additional audiences after the initial session. In total nearly 40 Guatemalan customs inspectors, local NGOs and university representatives will participate in both workshops.

“Training law enforcement personnel to effectively identify and humanely handle confiscated wildlife is only the first goal of these workshops, which are also intended to help institutionalize the training curriculum within local organizations so they have real ownership of the material and are able to reproduce the training for other agencies and individuals throughout the country,” said Mike Skuja, director of wildlife development programs for HSI.

These workshops are part of a successful series of training sessions that were held in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras to improve the ability of law enforcement officers and government officials to effectively implement CITES at a regional level in Central America and the Caribbean. In addition to Guatemala, future workshops are scheduled for El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

Facts:

  • Ever since it entered into force in 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, has been the only international agreement that regulates international trade in wild species.
  • To date, 175 nations (“Parties”) have signed and ratified the CITES treaty. Guatemala became a party to CITES in 1979.
  • The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be more than $10 billion annually, surpassed only by the illegal trade in drugs and arms.

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