Natural Resource Conservation Network Working together with Uganda Police of Rukungiri district on the 28th of February 2016, arrested one person for illegal possession and dealing in Uganda National Bird species (Grey Crowned Crane) The highly protected species in Uganda, following a tip off that some wildlife trader from Rukungiei is holding Crested Cranes with the intention of exchanging them for money.
Mucunguzi Brian 30, resident of Rukungiri District was in position of 3 Infantile Crested cranes claiming to have collected the eggs from areas of Rukungiri and breed them himself and have done it for a long time.
Mucunguzi is currently being detained at Rukungiri Central Police station waiting to appear in court. The birds were found in such poor shape and condition that they had to be taken for rehabilitation at the former Entebbe Zoo now known as the Uganda Wildlife Educational Center-UWEC as they carry out investigations to have the culprits arrested, Apprehended.
The egg hunters say that as long as the market thrives, he’ll keep finding and selling eggs and birds unless the government can offer him an alternative. For villagers, poaching Crane eggs provides a source of income they can’t find elsewhere.
“There’s no work,” says Mucunguzi “If there were jobs, why the hell would I come and do this?” Crested Cranes are collected from the wild by rural villagers, who then sell them to middlemen. Then the Birds get passed to highly organized, professional traffickers who get them out of the country or keep them illegally as pets.
The Grey Crowned Crane is highly protected both in Uganda, and it’s illegal to own or trade them commercially, and internationally. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which regulates the international wildlife trade, requires a permit to export them from their home country to ensure that their trade doesn’t harm population levels.
(Media Assistant, Natural Resource Conservation Network)