Acting on a tip-off provided by the Wildlife Conservationists, (NRCN), Police have arrested 0ne Police personnel and three others traffickers illegally possessing 2 live giant pangolins in Kitgum District they are identified as Okidi Richard PC No 481107, Alimambo Patrick, Olara Denish Saidi, Okot Sam both residents of Kitgum district .
The arrested was approached by our informer about a possible transaction which was immediately arranged leading them into the hands of the enforcers.
Muhindo Laban, the Media Assistant, Natural Resource Conservation Network, says the vice has been moving on for decades that has led to the killing of thousands of Pangolins in the area.
Pangolins are small squirrel-size animals .They 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.
Pangolins are hunted aggressively in Uganda and in neighboring countries which has endangered their populations over time.
They are protected under the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), 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 And this makes it illegal for anyone to trade in pangolins or any pangolin products.
Insatiable demand for these insectivorous mammals from East and Southeast Asia (particularly from China and Vietnam) has been the primary factor lending to the demise of all African pangolin species and now appears to be shifting to Asian species in the wake of Africa’s dwindling populations.
The flesh of adults and babies is considered a delicacy amongst consumers, while the animals’ scales are used as an ingredient in superstition-steeped traditional Chinese medicine.
“The capture and jailing of suspected poachers and traffickers indicates how serious NRCN and Police is about tackling wildlife crime and how determined we are to ensure that poachers pay for their crimes,” Muhindo said.
“We call upon residents living near game parks to desist from collaborating with poachers, but work with law enforcers to protect animals. We also call upon game rangers to be vigilant against environment crimes and work with the Police to overcome the illegal acts of poachers.”
Although poaching still remains a threat to wild life in Uganda and neighboring countries, there are strong efforts between the Police, NRCN and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and other entities, to curb the vice and protect Uganda’s wild species.