Criminal organizations in Uganda and East Africa are linked to ivory and of recently heavily linked to pangolin trafficking.
A third of hunters and traders interviewed in Uganda reported that traffickers take advantage of the weak border controls and security challenges in northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of the
Congo and South Sudan to offload the scales they collected, sometimes concealing themselves as impoverished locals to avoid detection at known checkpoints.
President Yoweri Museveni said that the population of elephants dwindled to 2000 from 30,000 in Uganda by 1986. It has now grown to about 6000 because of the Countrys strong stand on conservation. For us, we send poachers to heaven prematurely, he said.
African countries have started profiling their elephants in a bid to fight rampant poaching across the continent. Under the new approach, the DNA of different families of elephants are taken for analysis to know where they are located. Spearheaded by Dr. Samuel Wasser of the Washington University, the sample will provide valuable information on the origin of the ivory when arrested on the international market.
The High Court in Nakawa has today ordered Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to release the 2900 kilogrammes of ivory and return it to the Congolese businessman from whom it was confiscated last year. The impounded ivory is worth 5.8 million US Dollars according to the current international market rates. However, on the black market in China and other Asian countries, it is estimated to cost more than 10 million dollars. A kilogram of ivory costs about 2000 dollars on international market.
By joining the fight, Uganda undertakes to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and wildlife protection agencies at the national level to respond to well-armed, highly-organized poaching syndicates, Barirega Akankwasa, the Principal Wildlife Officer at Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities says.