Animal welfare experts will return today from a trip to Iraq to teach police and other officials how to protect the country's embattled wildlife.
The human toll of the years of conflict there has been well documented, but animals have also been affected as they have fallen prey to hunters and smugglers who have devastated populations of rare species unchecked amid the turmoil.
Animals are smuggled into neighbouring countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and officials believe some end up in the UAE.
Two Dubai-based trainers left for Iraq last Thursday as part of a team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The group spent seven days in the Kurdistan region, where security is less of an issue than elsewhere in the country.
The training is a key step towards Iraq adopting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which regulates the wildlife trade worldwide.