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Uganda Lacks Wildlife Database To Carry Out DNA Tests For Ivory :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Uganda Lacks Wildlife Database To Carry Out DNA Tests For Ivory

Last year, close to 1000 kilograms of ivory were confiscated and the culprits ran away. The government took over 400 samples of the ivory confiscated to USA for DNA analysis to trace the origin of the ivory. Up to now, the results of the DNA tests have not yet been released to Uganda, and the case still pending at the Anti Corruption Court.

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As illegal trade in ivory increases, Uganda is trying to find a way to ascertain the origin of the ivory that is being confiscated at various entry and exit points in the country. In the last few years, the country has already confiscated over 5000 kilograms of illegal ivory in the country. It is suspected that the Uganda is being used as a conduit to ship the ivory to Asian countries.

 

Last year, close to 1000 kilograms of ivory were confiscated but the culprits ran away. The government took over 400 samples of the ivory confiscated to USA for DNA analysis to trace the origin of the ivory. The results have not yet been released to Uganda, and the case still pending at the Anti Corruption Court.

 

Kule Asa Musinguzi, the Community Conservation Coordinator at Uganda Wildlife Authority, says they were forced to take the samples to USA because Uganda doesn’t have the data bank to crosscheck the origin of the ivory.

Musinguzi says all the elephants in Africa have been sequenced and it is easier to know from which country the elephants originate. He says the DNA tests could be done either in Makerere or Government Analytical Laboratory in Wandegeya, but because the country lacks data base of the different species across the continent, they are forced to take the samples to USA where all the data is available.

 

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Musinguzi however says with efficient network of collaborations, they are able to have the tests conducted in USA. The Community Conservation Coordinator says the DNA tests will help them to come up with accurate data that can be used to enforce implementation of both national and international laws to protect the endangered species;

 

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Currently different countries are implementing a range of laws to curb the illegal trade in endangered wildlife species. A conference on illegal trade in wildlife ended last week in United Kingdom, with leaders pledging to stop the illegal trade. Convention of Illegal Trade in Endangered Species has tightened conditions in trading on such endangered species. It also bars individual countries from trading in ivory and other wildlife products.

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