Tourism Minister Under Fire Over Increased Poaching
The Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Maria Mutagamba, today Tuesday rubbished as “exaggerations” the recent media reports of escalating levels of poaching in protected areas in Uganda.
Recently there has been a spate of press reports in the media regarding increasing illegal activities in the Protected Areas with particular emphasis on rampant poaching which alleged to be affecting the population of the wild animals in national parks and wildlife reserves.
Addressing journalists at the Media Centre in Kampala today, Mutagamba commended the media; the private sector and the general public for the concern showed regarding the need to conserve Uganda’s wildlife for posterity and said the Government is totally committed to eliminate poaching in Uganda.
She, however, said that contrary to the high levels of poaching, large mammals’ census has revealed that the elephants numbers for Queen Elizabeth Protected Area increased from 400 in 1988 to 2,959 in 2010, buffaloes from 5,000 to 14,858, Hippos from 2200 to 5,024 and Kobs from 18,000 to 20,971.
“Government through Uganda Wildlife Authority, Police and other agencies has been decisive in handling matters of poaching with poachers being arrested, prosecuted and ivory confiscated in accordance with the law,” said Mutagamba.
She also said that three pieces of Ivory have been recently recovered together with an automatic rifle AK47 which was used in the brutal killing of the two elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park(QENP) and the suspects were consequently arraigned before the 2nd Division Court Martial in Mbarara where they were charged.
Steven Masaba, who was standing in for the Executive Director of UWA, said that they are recruiting more rangers to enrich the force fighting against poaching.
He also said that the government is in the process of creating a fully-fledged intelligence unit under UWA to further strengthen information gathering and analysis to enable effective hunting down and crashing of the illicit wildlife trade network.
Masaba said the most prominent areas of poaching in Uganda are in Murchison Falls National Park but they receive cases from other areas like Lake Mburo National Park, Semiliki National Park and QENP.
John Makombo officer in charge of Conservation for UWA, said wildlife is everywhere in Uganda but admitted that most of the areas are not fully monitored. “On daily basis we monitor poaching and animals that die inside the monitored areas,” said Makombo.
Rate this article
Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
|We Buy||We Sell|
|Cash||South African Rand||280||295|