A group of three game rangers attached to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park have been arrested in connection with death of an elephant. It is believed that they shot the elephant over the weekend.
A group of three game rangers attached to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park have been arrested in connection with death of an elephant.
Those arrested are Dan Mbabazi, Herbert Natukunda and Justus Katusi all from Kameme village in Kihihi sub county,Kanungu District.
They are suspected to have been behind the shooting of an elephant from the same sector over the weekend.
They were arrested in a joint operation conducted by the Uganda Tourism Police and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials on Monday.
An AK 47 machine gun and 180 rounds of ammunitions were also recovered from the area.
Edward Musasizi the officer in charge of the Criminal investigations department in Kanungu District says that the trio faces charges of poaching and illegal Possession of firearms.
Kigezi region regional Police spokesperson Elly Maate confirmed the arrests. Maate said that poachers pose a risk not just to the animals but human beings as well.
Poaching is common in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth with locals targeting animals for wild meat.
On the June 2, 2014 a group of three locals who included Vicensio Kabinduma (38) from Matanda and Bendera Ruteikaza (30) from Kikarwa village in Bwambara Sub County, Rukungiri District were arrested in Kanungu with wild meat.
Elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park are threatened as poachers intensify the hunt for ivory tusks whose demand has increased on the local and international markets.
At least 15 elephants were killed in 2012 and ivory tusks extracted from their carcasses in Queen Elizabeth National park alone according to UWA.
400 poachers were arrested in and around the park in 2012, prosecuted and the majority of them remanded in government prisons.
According to the UWA, it is estimated that 20 elephants were killed for their ivory across the country in 2010.
After a sharp fall in the number of elephants in Africa, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) banned the trade in ivory in 1989.
But in recent years poaching has increased across sub-Saharan Africa with criminal gangs slaughtering elephants for ivory markets in Asia and Uganda considered as a transit route for Ivory to Asia.