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UWA Wants Drones to Monitor Wildlife Poaching

UWA Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya told the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission of Inquiry into Land matters that Uganda is in the midst of sophisticated poachers targeting elephants and other wildlife.
16 May 2017 19:10
Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director, Andrew Seguya

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Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) may soon procure drones to keep a watchful eye against wildlife poachers in the country's national parks and game reserves.

UWA Executive Director, Dr.  Andrew Seguya told the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission of Inquiry into Land matters that Uganda is in the midst of sophisticated poachers targeting elephants and other wildlife.

He said UWA game rangers and the UPDF have in the past been attacked by poachers armed with more dangerous weapons than the arrow and bows used by poachers in the past. 

Most of the weapons according to Seguya have been used in areas of Kidepo and parts of the Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Seguya said the situation in Kidepo is worse to the extent that it seems like a constant war.

Seguya and his team were appearing before the Commission over reports of alleged land conflicts between Uganda Wildlife Authority and communities in National Parks in Queen Elizabeth, Mount Elgon and other protected areas.

//Cue in; "The poachers are…

Cue Out… pulled by Donkeys"//

The use of Drones against poaching has been successfully piloted in National Parks in Malawi, Zambia and South Africa. 

Seguya added that much as UWA and UPDF have reduced elephant's killings in Uganda, more needs to be done to stop the trend. He says Uganda now loses about ten elephants each year due to poaching while the killings of other wildlife like buffaloes, crocodiles and other is higher because of demand for game meat.

UWA also plans to establish a laboratory at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Seguya says the laboratory will be used to provide evidence in court in case a poacher was found with buffalo meat.

UWA has in the past lost court cases related to trade in game meat because poacher claimed that meat confiscated from slaughtered cattle. The demand of game meat according to Seguya is being fueled by mainly by the elite and rich that resort to game meat as part of their sophisticated lifestyles.  

Meanwhile Seguya says a Bill was recently tabled to parliament to reform the Uganda Wildlife Authority Act.  He said if enacted, it will provide for stiffer penalties to poachers and Ivory dealers. He says local poachers and international Ivory dealers have in the past the weaker penalties in the current law to come out of courts by paying small fines.

//Cue In "The New law is going……

Cue Out …. Very expensive to poach"//

Uganda has continued to be a stopover for international smugglers, who may take advantage of the weak laws and corruption.

Despite the increasing numbers, elephants in Uganda still face poaching pressure, particularly in Queen Elizabeth National Park, which now has close to three thousand elephants.

Meanwhile Uganda Wildlife Authority wants some land around the National parks to be regazzeted into national parks.

He says some of the communities there continue to encroach of UWA land leading to some of the conflicts that have emerged. He said the human population is growing at 3.2 is increasing pressure on animals.

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