Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 19 February, 1997

Written Answers. - Wildlife Legislation.

76. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht the lessons, if any, which have been learned by the delays and lack of legislation and enforcement to quickly relocate the Siberian tiger cub recently rescued by the Care for the Wild representative in Ireland; if the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill will be adequately drafted and resourced in law to protect wildlife from abuse and trading; and when this legislation will be forthcoming. [4709/97]

Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of my Department is both the Management and Scientific Authority for this country for the purposes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The convention [454] is implemented in this country under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3626/82 of 3 December 1982 on the implementation in the Community of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2727/95 of 27 November 1995. CITEs regulates trade in species of wild fauna and flora on the basis of a system of permits and certificates, which are issued when certain conditions are met and which have to be presented when consignments of specimens leave or enter a country. The Siberian Tiger (Pathera tigris) is protected under the terms of the convention and the Council regulation.

An application for the issue of an export permit for the tiger cub in question was submitted to the NPWS on 30 December 1996. Further information was requested by the NPWS from the applicant by letter dated 6 January 1997. The applicant was subsequently advised by letter dated 10 January 1997 that the application for an export permit could not be processed until such time as the CITES Management Authority for the country of import (United States) was in a position to issue a reciprocal import permit for the tiger cub. The United States CITES Management Authority yesterday confirmed to the NPWS that it has now received an application for an import permit which it is currently considering. I am satisfied that the NPWS has enforced the terms of the Council regulation. The delay in relocating the tiger cub in question would appear to be due to the delay by the importer in the United States in complying with the relevant requirements of the United States CITES Management Authority.

I propose to include in the forthcoming Wildlife (Amendment) Bill the necessary provisions to enable me to formally ratify the CITES Convention and I hope to be in a position to publish the Bill within the next few months.