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Kristine Aghalaryan

Deputy Environment Minister's Confession: Illegal Animal Trade Exists but We Haven't Uncovered any Actual Evidenc

While Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Nature Protection Khachik Hakobyan confesses that Armenia has a problem regarding the illegal trade of endangered animals, the official also confesses there has been no evidence of Armenia's involvement in the matter. 

Hakobyan made the statement to reporters at a recent seminar in Yerevan that explored ways to stem such illegal trade in animals.

He added that this is the reason why Armenia signed the CITES (the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 2009. 

The Ministry of Nature Protection, the body tasked with monitoring such trafficking in Armenia, confesses that it only heard about the problem through the pages of the press.

“Naturally, we followed up at the ministry and beefed up the monitoring procedures,” Hakobyan told Hetq.

When asked if the ministry had taken steps to return illegally imported animals to Armenia to their countries of origin, Hakobyan replied that law enforcement bodies were dealing with the matter and that, if professional assistance was necessary, the ministry would get involved.

When asked to evaluate the work of the ministry, the body tasked with coordinating the implementation of CITES regulations in Armenia, Hakobyan answered, “I believe its activities are satisfactory and should improve day by day. Proof of the process is this four day seminar.”