Following increased vigilance by Uganda Wildlife Authority to fight illegal trade in wildlife products, another consignment of 42 poisonous snakes and 147 chameleons was this week impounded at Entebbe International Airport in what is yet more evidence of the need to strengthen the UWA presence at Entebbe Airport and other border outlets.
By the time the tightly sealed wooden box was opened three days after confiscation, all the 42 snakes were still alive but 55 chameleons had died giving off a nasty stench. After the shippers, S.M.E Breeders Ltd, failed to claim the consignment for three straight days, it was transferred from the Entebbe Airport Police to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
Officials at UWEC on Thursday 15th November expertly handled the snakes and chameleons as they helped the media to view them one by one. The UWEC Executive Director, James Musinguzi said they will first assess the snakes and decided whther it is safe to transfer them to the protected areas. However, he said that they would like to keep the chameleons because many visitors to UWEC have expressed interest in learning more about them.
The UWA Law Enforcement officials said they got a tip off from an official at the airport who was handling cargo. After extracting the first small parcel in the huge box, they found that it contained a live snake. The consignment was immediately impounded and taken to police.
According to information, the consignment was headed to The Czech Republic.
Unfortunately the UWA staff failed to arrest the representative of the clearing company that was handling the consignment.
Investigations are already underway to establish the identity of the people behind the planned shipment with a view to prosecuting them.