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PAAZAB President: Tough Legislations Alone Cannot End Poaching

Several countries have toughened laws against poaching which they think can reduce the vice. In the new proposed Uganda Wildlife Act Amendments, the authority has proposed 20 years jail term, or a fine equivalent to value of the confiscated wildlife product.

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Governments across Africa must improve the economic welfare of communities living near protected areas instead of concentrating on tougher legislation that has failed to stop poaching, the president of Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquarium (PAAZAB) has said.

 

Several countries have toughened laws against poaching which they think can reduce the vice. In the new proposed Uganda Wildlife Act Amendments, the authority has proposed 20 years jail term, or a fine equivalent to value of the confiscated wildlife product.

 

Several other countries have put in similar laws to protect the wildlife as the trade takes on sophiscated trend, with international rackets financing poaching in Africa, with little success.

 

Dr. Clifford Nxomani, the President of PAAZAB, says legislation alone will not solve the problem of poaching. He says governments must empower the communities around the protected areas with economic activities that can make them earn decent living. He says if the communities continue to wallow in poverty, all legislations will not work because they will continue to poach on the animals for survival.

 

Dr. Nxomani says the problem of poaching is not only local issue but a global problem where wealth foreign rackets offer huge incentives to the poachers and therefore the best option is economic empowerment of such communities;

 

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He says once this done and people begin to appreciate the value of conservation, then the government can begin to crack whips at those who deal in the trade.

 

Uganda currently has over 5000 kilograms of confiscated ivory and about 15 pieces of Rhino horns enroute to Asian countries. The country is being used as a conduit for illegal ivory because of the weak laws.

 

Early this year, the Nakawa Magistrates' Court ordered the release of about 800 pieces of ivory to a Congolese businessman which the court claimed the Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda Wildlife Authority were holding illegally.

 

However, the two authorities have since launched an appeal at the High Court which is still pending hearing and judgment.

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