Kampala - February 06, 2019.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has taken up the prosecution of two Vietnamese nationals who were arrested by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) customs officials in possession of elephant ivory and pangolin scales.
Mr. Dhan Yon Chiew and Mr. Nguyen Son Dong will be charged in the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court for possession and illegally trafficking wildlife products contrary to the provisions of the Uganda Wildlife Act Cap 200. They will be charged under a number of sections of the Uganda Wildlife Act.
UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandha says that the case offers UWA an opportunity to establish the source of the ivory and pangolin scales that the suspects were found in possession of. It also provides us an opportunity to tell the world that Uganda will not tolerate illegal wildlife and wildlife product trafficking. “We have been internationally labelled a conduit for illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products, ruining our reputation on the world stage. We shall use this case to show our resolve to stamp out this illegal trade. While URA handles the case in regard to possession of prohibited products, we will handle it from a different angle”, says Mr. Mwandha.
He further clarifies that given the increasing number of wildlife and the fact that Uganda Wildlife Authority can account for elephants in Uganda, it is most probable the contraband came from poaching of wildlife in neighbouring states. UWA intends to undertake DNA analysis to establish the source of the ivory with a view of working with the relevant authorities to address poaching.
URA customs officials on January 31, 2019 reported to have seized three containers loaded with wildlife contrabands that included ivory and pangolin scales concealed in logs. The suspects have since appeared before the Anti-corruption Court.
Uganda Wildlife Authority commends Uganda Revenue Authority and all other agencies that were involved in the operation that led to the arrest of the suspects and seizure of the wildlife species for their vigilance and commitment to fighting illegal wildlife trade which is further endangering Uganda’s wildlife resources. We will continue to work with our sister agencies to ensure all those involved in the illegal trade are brought to book.
With the cooperation from all relevant agencies, illegal wildlife trade will be stamped out of Uganda and we shall continue to conserve for generations.
Original source: Daily Mail
China needs to act now on the country's illegal ivory trade to stop elephants becoming extinct, according to one conservationist.
China accounts for 40 per cent of the world's trade in elephant tusks, with many bound for the country intercepted by customs officials in Hong Kong
Joyce Poole, co-director of Elephant Voices, said the creatures had experienced their worst year in history, with more than 7 per cent killed for their tusks in only a year.
She called for China to tackle the country's appetite for ivory to save the remaining 400,000 elephants from extinction, and said the species would be extinct within a decade if poaching continued at the current rate.
Nearly 40,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year, Poole told the South China Morning Post.
'It's either China does something, or we lose the elephants. It's that big,' she said.
'If we can't even save the elephants – such an iconic keystone animal, important to the African habitat – then what hope do we have?'
Ivory is known as 'white gold' in China, she said, and is symbol of wealth and status.
A worldwide ban on ivory was imposed in 1989, with two sanctioned sales of stock to China and Japan in 1999 and 2007.
Hong Kong customs officials have seized at least 16 tonnes of ivory worth HK$87million (more than £7million) bound for China in the past five years – which would require the tusks of 1,800 elephants, the paper reported.
About 93 per cent of elephant carcasses have been found to have been killed by poachers, said Poole, who has researched elephants for 40 years.
One elephant would earn an African poacher the same as a typical annual salary, she told the newspaper.
'I think many people don't know that you can't get the tusks [for ivory] without killing the elephants,' Poole said.
'[Beijing is] still in denial that they have any part to play. Ivory isn't worth much to the [Chinese] economy, but losing the elephants will make a huge difference to African countries.' – Daily Mail