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March 25, 2011

HSI Brings Wildlife Handling Workshops to the Dominican Republic

Humane Society International

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Humane Society International will conduct three workshops on confiscated wildlife handling in conjunction with the U.S Department of State and the Dominican Republic’s environmental ministry and CITES Management Authority, March 29-31.

The workshops, which will feature HSI’s newly developed Spanish-language animal handling curriculum, will take place in Santo Domingo and Barahona, Dominican Republic.  Police, customs, and governmental ministry representatives will be trained on the handling of illegally traded wildlife, and will take part in a ‘Training of the Trainers’ session. In total, an estimated 40 Dominican participants including customs inspectors, local non-governmental organizations, and university representatives, will participate.

“Knowledge of wildlife biology and proper animal handling techniques is crucial for the effective enforcement of environmental legislation.  HSI is confident that this training will be the stepping stone of a model for Dominican institutions to replicate throughout the country, allowing them to maximize the curriculum’s impact,” said Mike Skuja, director of wildlife development programs for HSI.

These three Dominican workshops are the culmination of a successful series of training sessions that were held in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua 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.


  • Ever since it entered into force in 1975, 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. The Dominican Republic became a party to CITES in 1987.
  • The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be more than $10 billion annually, surpassed only by the illegal trade in drugs and arms.
  • The Dominican Republic is home to the hawksbill turtle, currently listed on Appendix I of CITES for species threatened with extinction which are or may be affected by trade. International commercial trade in Appendix I species is prohibited

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.