Acting on a tip-off provided by the Wildlife Conservationists, Police have arrested one police officer and three others traffickers illegally possessing two live
giant pangolins in Kitgum District, north of Kampala.
The suspects have been identified as PC No 481107 Okidi Richard plus civilians namely Alimambo Patrick, Olara Denis Saidi, Okot Sam all residents of Kitgum district
The arrested were approached by an informer about a possible transaction which was immediately arranged leading them into the hands of the enforcers. According to
intelligence information. the vice has been moving on for decades that has led to the killing of thousands of Pangolins in the area.
Pangolins are small squirrel-size animals .They have big scales that are as hard as ivory or rhino horn known in Luganda as Olugave, one of the most popular cultural
totems among the Baganda ethnic group in central region. Pangolins are hunted aggressively in Uganda and in neighboring countries which has endangered their populations over time. They are protected under the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES), listed under Appendix II of CITES, which means trade is regulated and monitored under CITES.
Permits are required from exporting countries for any trade activity which makes it illegal for anyone to trade in pangolins or any pangolin products.
Insatiable demand for these insectivorous mammals from East and Southeast Asia (particularly from China and Vietnam) has been the primary factor leading to the demise of all African pangolin species and now appears to be shifting to Asian species in the wake of Africa’s dwindling populations. The flesh of adults and babies is considered a delicacy amongst consumers, while the animals’ scales are used as an ingredient in superstition-steeped traditional Chinese medicine.
What are pangolins?
Pangolins are nocturnal mammals that live in tropical regions in Africa and Asia. Also called the scaly anteater, these creatures are known for their suit-of-armor of
overlapping scales that are made of a tough protein called keratin the same material that makeup human nails and hair.
When they feel threatened, they roll themselves into a tight ball which is also how they got their name as word “Pengguling” is Malay for “something that rolls up”. They range in size from 30-100 centimeters (12-39 inches) and their diet consists of termites and ants that they eat with extremely long tongues.
According to the Save Pangolins website, their sticky tongues are attached internally near the pelvis that is ideal for capturing prey in deep cavities in the ground and on trees. When fully extended, the tongue is longer than the animal’s head and body, Save Pangolins said.
Pangolins have no teeth and they chew using spines and small stones inside their stomachs. They move by wobbling on their limbs and balancing on the outer edges of their forefeet and tucking their fore claws underneath, Save Pangolins said.
“The capture and jailing of suspected poachers and traffickers indicates how serious the authorities are, about tackling wildlife crime and ensuring that poachers pay for their crimes.
A multi million shilling facility to house weapons used in law enforcement,traps and snares recovered from patrols and wildlife products,was on Friday officially commissioned and handed over to Uganda Wildlife Authority by the British High Commissioner,Ms Alison Blackburne.
The Murchison Falls National P ark(MFNP) Weapons Security and Anti trafficking Facility,was constructed at Mubako,the park headquarters,Buliisa District,by Uganda Conservation Foundation(UCF) with support from the British Government.
The multi purpose facility complete with solar lighting,will also house important items like elephant tusks removed from the jumbos which die of natural causes or recovered from suspected poachers and kept as exhibits,weapons used in patrols and problem animal control as well as wire snares,wheel traps,spears and other tools recovered by the rangers who regularly comb the expansive park to curb illegal activities against wildlife.
The hand over ceremony was marked with the display of hundreds of steel traps and wire snares recovered over the last four years and had formerly been kept in a squeezed make shift shelter.
There was also a demonstration of how the traps can be destroyed with bolt cutters and angle grinders,to prevent leakage of the same to the community for repeated use.
The British High Commissioner was happy to learn about the drastic reduction in the incidences of wildlife poaching for meat and ivory,following intensified patrols and deployment of technologies supported by Her Majesty's government.
Among other projects supported by Britain are marine ranger stations and ranger outposts at Semanya,Bugana and Kabim in MFNP.The government has also donated several geo location cameras for evidence based ranger patrol,kits including coumflage fatigues and back packs as well as training marine rangers.
In MFNP,the biggest and oldest in the country,the British government has also sponsored the construction of a veterinary centre and analytical laboratory which will enhance veterinary interventions,sample analysis.The veterinary centre under construction will be completed in a month's time according to Anne-Marie wee den,the General Manager UCF.
The hand over ceremony was witnessed by the chairman UCF,Mr.Paul Sherwen,his vice chairman,Lt.Gen.Ivan Koreta,and Dr.Andrew Seguya,the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority.
President Museveni on Tuesday April12th,2016 took a boat ride on the 32Km long Kazinga Channel that connects lake Edward and George inside Queen Elizabeth National Park.
During his cruise,the president sighted a variety of animals and birds in the backdrop of a panoramic landscape.He also had opportunity to wave and chat with the fishing communities along the channel.
"In 2014, tourism contributed UgShs 6.4 trillion - 9.9% of our GDP up from 7.9% (5.6 trillion ) in 2013. The peace and stability ushered in by the NRM Government has seen the tourism sector grow steadily. Government is committed to offering more support to the tourism sector to ensure it grows in leaps and bounds," said President Museveni
Uganda Wildlife Authority was on Wednesday April 6th,2016,greatly honoured to host HE President Yoweri Museveni in Semuliki National Park where he went for a nature walk in the forest and also visited the famous Sempaya hot springs . He commended UWA for great work in promoting conservation and tourism