Uganda: Uganda’s Struggle to Tame Poaching During Lockdown

Uganda: Uganda’s Struggle to Tame Poaching During Lockdown

Sumary of Uganda: Uganda’s Struggle to Tame Poaching During Lockdown:

  • Wildlife poaching in Uganda has risen during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, but authorities say they are working hard to stop the vice that is costing the country in both tourism revenues and illicit financial flows..
  • A Uganda Wildlife Trafficking Assessment report released in 2018, identified Uganda as one of the commonest transits of wildlife products in the Central and East African region..
  • The report also reveals that wildlife trafficking is aided by unlicensed markets in DR Congo, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, and corrupt officials..
  • The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) commissioner for conservation, Mr John Makombo, says between February and June, 367 cases of poaching were recorded across the country..
  • The most recent case is of Rafiki, a beloved silverback gorilla that was killed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda in June..
  • The Annual Tourism Sector Performance report for the Financial Year 2018/2019, indicates that tourism revenue increased from $1.4b (about Shs5.3 trillion) in the 2017/2018 financial year to $1.6b (about Shs5.8 trillion) in the 2018/2019 financial year..
  • Basing on the above statistics, the report states that the tourism sector had contributed more than 7.7 per cent to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product, as well as up to 6.7 per cent of the total national employment after creating 667,600 indirect and direct jobs..
  • According to a 2017 report by Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a London and Nairobi-based think-tank, all over the world, for every animal or plant specimen taken illegally from the wild, money changes hands..
  • RUSI, which helps build capacity in detecting and prosecuting wildlife-linked money-laundering across East Africa, also states that wildlife crime is not simply a crime against wildlife, but it is organised financial crime conducted on an industrial and transnational scale for profit..
  • Data obtained from the Uganda Conservation Foundation website reveals that Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is the fourth-largest illicit activity worldwide, generating $7m (about Shs26.2b) per year..
  • The foundation states that although little is known about these illicit money flows in source and transit areas such as Uganda, a lot of factors come into play..
  • Data obtained from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN), an organisation dealing in conservation of wildlife in Uganda, indicates that the country loses at least $ 5m (about Shs187m) per annum to illegal wildlife trade..
  • Mr Vincent Sseruma, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) spokesperson, says they are making notable progress in the fight against IWT..
  • He adds that in 2019 more than 700 pieces of ivory and more than 200 pangolin scales were seized in Uganda after being smuggled from South Sudan..
  • The illegal cargo was discovered after the URA officials scanned three six-meter containers carrying timber logs which had crossed the border from South Sudan….

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