12 October 2018

Uganda: Illegal Wildlife Trade, Trafficking Threatening Security - - Museveni

Kampala — President Museveni has urged for collaborated intelligence gathering and sharing about illegal wildlife trade and trafficking because if the vice is not stopped, it will cause more insecurity than it does to conservation.

Mr Museveni was addressing a conference on illegal wildlife trade yesterday in London, United Kingdom. The conference aimed at deliberating on how to combat illegal wildlife trade and trafficking is being hosted by UK Prime Minister, Thereza May.

"I, therefore, call upon governments and partners gathered here to strengthen collaboration and cooperation especially in sharing intelligence, capacity development-equipments, training and financing, strengthening laws and cross border law enforcement, reducing demand for illegal wildlife products and strengthening legal mechanisms for commercialisation of wildlife to support sustainable development," he said.

He said this illicit trade requires cooperation of governments to be defeated because proceeds are now being used in terrorism financing around Africa. The President said on the side of conservation, the rampant killings of elephants in search for ivory, Rhinos in search for rhino horns and Pangolins for their scales is threatening wildlife in Africa and such species face extinction.

"The need to come together as stakeholders involving source, transit and consumer states, conservation partners and well-wishers to devise means and mechanisms of addressing this menace cannot be overemphasised," he said.

Uganda has sometimes been used as a conduit for the exportation of ivory from neighboring countries to Asian black markets. On several occasions, ivory and other wildlife products are intercepted by security operatives at Entebbe International Airport.

Mr Museveni, who said Uganda is committed to end the "menace" of illegal wildlife trade, told the conference that several measures have been undertaken by his government to conserve the wildlife.

He said the government has strengthened law enforcement efforts through recruitment, training and equipping our rangers, adding that security agencies are working together to ensure safety and security of tourists and wildlife resources.

"Since the Court was established three years ago, we have improved our conviction rate from less than 50 percent to over 90 percent for all wildlife crime cases," the President said.

He said specialised wildlife crime intelligence and investigation units have been established in addition to the deployment of sniffer dogs at entry and exit points to curb illegal wildlife products in transit.

The conference was also informed that the Wildlife Bill in which a life sentence is being proposed for whoever will be found guilty of poaching and trafficking of endangered species for commercial purposes, is now before Parliament.

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