The NRCN (Natural Resource Conservation Network) wildlife law enforcement team on 14th October 2015 arrested Oryem Vincent with 4 dead mature giant Pangolins.
He is currently detained at Gulu central police station waiting prosecution.
His other accomplice identified as Alex Billy Okwir managed to dodge the transaction and is on the run being looked for by police.
Both are residents of Peche division, Gulu municipality, Gulu district North of Uganda.
A mature Pangolin can weigh between 15-20kgs and each Kilogram of pangolin scales costs over $1,000 on the international market.
The arrested was approached by our informer about a possible transaction which was immediately arranged leading them into the hands of the enforcers.
“According to our intelligence information the vice has been moving on for decades that has led to the killing of thousands of Pangolins in the area, the same occurrence of the same character happened in June this year in the same area that saw nine people arrested with over 80kgs of Pangolin scales by NRCN team and police in Gulu town,” said Muhindo Laban, the Media Assistant, Natural Resource Conservation Network.
Muhindo says the population of pangolins in Uganda is not known as they are found in many parts of the country.
Pangolins are small squirrel-size animals which have big scales that are as hard as ivory or rhino horn known in Luganda as Olugave one of the most popular cultural totems among the Buganda.
Pangolin scales are hunted aggressively in Uganda and in neighboring countries which has endangered their populations over time, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The four Asian species are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered and all 8 species of Asian and African pangolins are listed under Appendix II of CITES, which means trade is regulated and monitored under CITES, permits are required from exporting countries for any trade activity.
To issue a permit, the exporting country must determine that this activity will have no detriment to the wild population.
Animals’ scales are used as an ingredient in superstition-steeped traditional Chinese medicine.
Such pangolin concoctions serve as a “cure-all remedy” for things like reducing swelling, improving liver function, promoting weight loss, stimulating blood circulation, enhancing lactation in breast-feeding women, and have even fallaciously been claimed to cure cancer.
None of the medicinal claims made about the critters and their body parts have been backed by science and in fact, their scales are primarily composed of keratin the same protein that makes up rhino horns and human hair.
As peer-reviewed lab studies have found rhino horn to be void of medicinal properties, one can assume the same holds true for the pangolin’s keratinous scales.
In 2011 alone, an estimated 41,000-60,000 pangolins are believed to have been removed from the wild for these purposes.